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2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
Such experience, in the absence of forewarning, would have been liable to lead them to think, in the bereavement of Christ's absence, that something was wrong: that God had forsaken them: that the work in some inscrutable way had miscarried. His telling them beforehand prevented this.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 54
We do not require to live in the first century to fellowship the sufferings of Christ. We may have thought so in the first days of our spiritual childhood. We all, no doubt, had the idea that we required to be put in prison, and to have the officer of the law come into our houses and take our things, or that we should be led forth to the stake or have our heads cut off, before we should suffer with Christ.
The age of true martyrdom has not passed away. We are invited to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God, and that is a far more difficult kind of sacrifice to offer than that which is at an end almost as soon as the pain is felt. Death by the sword or at the stake is sharp, short, and decisive, but a living sacrifice is a living martyrdom.
It is a living mortification -- a tedious and protracted suffering; it is a waiting for God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; it is an obeying of commandments which are irksome to the natural man it is submitting to a trial which is not joyous, but grievous.
How is that?
Because God forbids those who are invited to be heirs of His kingdom to be friends with the world, or to seek for pleasure in the present time. Those who are at liberty to be friends with the world, and to seek for pleasure in the present time, have a great deal to entertain them; and those who accept the calling to which God has called all who have ears to hear, experience the deprivation; though I admit that after a while, the deprivation is felt in a different direction.
What I mean by that is this: they do not feel the deprivation of present gratifications such as they are called upon to leave, for they learn to hate these, seeing that they are built on the wrong foundation.
The world disregards God; they follow pleasure for its own behoof, and a saint learns to have no pleasure in anything from which God is absent, so that if he could, he would not take part; but he feels the deprivation in another way. He learns not only to hate those things, but to love another set of things, and the things he loves are not present to him except by faith...the deprivation, therefore, relates to our being cut off, for the time being, from the things that are to come.
Bro Roberts - Present Suffering, Seasons 1.32.
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
We may see how all this was done by considering what was effected by the co-operation of the Spirit with the apostles after the day of Pentecost. It demonstrated to the entire Jewish community (1) that they had sinned in the rejection of Jesus; (2) that Jesus was righteous, and also the appointed righteousness of God for men, as shown in his being taken by the Father to the Father's own presence; and (3) that the present world-rulership was God-rejected in Christ's acceptance after crucifixion.
These things would not be intelligible to the disciples at the first. There were many aspects of the truth as it is in Jesus which they were, in fact, incapable of discerning, and would not be capable of discerning till they should become the subjects of that illumination and guidance of the Spirit which He promised.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 54
17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?
Did this refer to the three days' separation about to ensue as he spoke, ending with his resurrection? or did it refer to the larger separation ending with his coming again? It seems more naturally to have the larger as its meaning. The two "little whiles" are then apparent.
The first "little while" -- from the moment he was addressing them to the 44th day afterwards, when he was taken from them into heaven, when the time commenced, and is still current, during which the words are fulfilled, "ye shall not see me." The second "little while." -- from the 44th day after his crucifixion to the day of his reappearing in power and great glory, when it will be true of all the saints, "ye shall see me."
If we suppose the words to refer to the short separation, to be ended by his resurrection, the facts would be difficult to fit to the words, and the words themselves would have a pettiness of scope quite unusual to the large and exalted style of Christ's utterances.
...This limited application would be quite out of keeping with the style of divine language which calls two thousand years "a small moment" (Isa. liv. 7), and a thousand years "one day" (2 Pet. iii. 8). Besides, it would fail to provide a suitable place for the two ideas that Jesus associates with the ending of the second little while -- the permanent turning of the disciples' sorrow into joy [v20], and the going to the Father as the cause or explanation of their joyful re-union.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 54
23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
Ask me nothing
which we can understand as applicable to the day of his second appearing; for then, being changed into the Lord's own nature -- even the glorious spirit nature, they will, as Paul expresses it, "know even as they are known" (1 Cor. xiii. 12). When the disciples "know even as they are known," they will understand all things with a thoroughness and a translucency that will render the asking of questions unnecessary.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 54
24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
The modern habit is to deprecate this feature as sentimentalism. This is only one of the symptoms of the false culture that prevails at present upon the earth. Joy is the oil of life. It makes existence sweet, and makes men beautiful in each other's eyes. There is little of it at present because the conditions out of which it springs are violated everywhere.
But it remains in the constitution of things as the beneficent possibility "all the world o'er" -- latent for the time, but ready to spring into activity when its fountains are opened and cleared by the Master hand that will make and proclaim "all things new" in due time -- establishing peace on earth and good will among men.
Meanwhile, it is an individual experience where the mind of Christ prevails -- an experience in measure -- small measure, but true -- joy in God, joy in Christ, joy in the promises and the prospect, and joy in the present path of blessing and well-doing, which on the whole is a pleasant path, though much beset with flesh-tearing bramble growth.
As one of the fruits of the spirit, it is accessible now, but cannot be tasted in its fulness till the day when
"the redeemed of the Lord shall come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads."
28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
"I am," said he, "in the Father, and the Father in me. The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works."
This mutual indwelling, dated from "the anointing," and was suspended "about the ninth hour" of the crucifixion, when the Father forsook the Son of Man. He continued, however, to live after the Father had forsaken him; for after he proclaimed his abandonment, he said, "I thirst." Vinegar was then given to him, which he received.
He then cried again, with a loud voice, "It is finished." And after this he cried,
"Father, into thy hands I deliver my life; and, having said thus, he bowed his head, and yielded up the life." "I have power," said he, to lay down my life, and power to take it up again;"
and after this manner he delivered it.
From this testimony it is evident, that when the Son spoke of his procession from the Father, he was not alluding to his natural birth, but to his anointing with the Spirit of the Father, and to his mission. Peter says, that "God sent word to the of Israel by Jesus the anointed;" and having come into the world-the Jewish world, into which only he was sent-he declared that he was anointed to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.
He "came out from God" to do this by that which "came forth from the Father"-by the Spirit with which the Father had sealed him, and which was bestowed upon him without measure.
When men heard the doctrine and saw the miracles, they perceived the Father; but when they saw Jesus between the ninth hour of the crucifixion and the bowing of his head, they did not see the Father, but Jesus, forsaken of the Spirit.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, February, 1855