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Saturday, November 30, 2013

We Beheld His Glory # 7

Fullness out of Emptiness, Life out of Death, Joy out of Sorrow, Glory out of Shame

All that is gathered up and brought into this testimony of the third day, the Divine fullness. What is the sign n its elements? Well, there is marriage. You say: An ordinary, perhaps, everyday occurrence. Yes, but this comes within the compass of the Divine economy; this comes under the hand of the Divine sovereignty. Things that happened in these gospel records did not happen by chance as mere everyday happenings. They came in order of the Divine sovereignty to fulfill a purpose. You watch that principle; that which looked like an ordinary happening turned out to have been Divinely ordered to serve the eternal purpose. God in sovereignty was ordering these details to His own ends. It was not just by chance that things took place, came to pass in the life of the Lord Jesus. This marriage, one among many marriages, had a place in the economy of God. It is not without tremendous significance that the first sign of the Lord Jesus by which He  showed forth His glory should be related to a marriage, it is foundational. If you look on through all the other elements you look on to a day of another marriage, the marriage supper of the Lamb all the elements which are in this marriage of Cana. Waterpots, vessels, and there are six of them. These are vessels of humanity, human vessels, in type. Man is here in view, man, six is the number of man; and man as a vessel; but impoverished, knowing nothing of fullness, may have been quite empty or may have been almost empty. The fact that the Lord had to command that they were to be filled indicates that they did not know fullness. Emptiness! Intended for fullness but not enjoying it! Intended for very large fullness. (Each one of these vessels was capable of containing about twenty gallons of water). They were not little waterpots, not mere pitchers or jugs. Not notice the details were given. The firkin is the New Testament measure which corresponds to the Old Testament bath, and the Old Testament bath was some eight gallons, perhaps eight-and-a-half. So you can see about how many gallons each of these vessels held - and there were six of them. Capacity intended for a large measure of fullness but not in it, not knowing it. And if that water speaks of life, then they are not knowing life; it is death. "In him was life." "I am come that they might have life and that they might have it abundantly" - the intention of God. The thought of God for man is fullness to the brim, not only fullness in a very small capacity but in large capacity. A large capacity being used to the full; life! But here death was truly in possession, if not altogether, where life ought to have been. Further, this whole occasion had become overshadowed by the failure of wine, and knowing that it was the foundational thing of such an occasion, that if the wine failed their feast failed, you may take it that in the hearts of those responsible there was consternation and despair, a cloud was over the whole thing, and a very great deal of anxiety. I mean that joy must have been quite seriously arrested by reason of this emergency. "These things have I spoken unto you, that ... your joy might be full." And then this state of things would undoubtedly bring reproach and shame and disgrace, anything but glory, just the opposite of glory. You see the elements in this. What was the effect of the intervention of the Lord Jesus? It was to change this whole situation. "Fill the waterpots with water." It was an imperative which carried with it that they were to be filled to the brim, and they filled them to the brim. He changed their emptiness to fullness, their death to life, despair to joy, shame to glory. Life represented by the water; the marriage covenant represented by the covenant of His Blood, the wine; the fullness to the brim: "Of his fullness we all received, and grace upon grace." That is an after statement of the apostle, it is a retrospective view, he is writing many years after this and he says: "We beheld his glory,"  "of his fullness have we received." From emptiness to fullness, from shame to glory, from despair to joy. Fullness! All his was illuminating as to His Person. Life, the covenant in His Blood; the Light as to Who He was; the "joy unspeakable and full of glory." All these re elements of this basic sign. You see everything is gathered up in this, all the other signs are gathered into it. It was intended to be a foundational thing by which these disciples were brought into a spiritual knowledge of Himself. All the great principles of both Testaments are here. If I were to stay with the whole matter of Divine life, which He came that we might have abundantly, the gift of God which is eternal life, you would find it one of the basic things of these signs. If I were to stay with the precious Blood represented in the cup which we take at the Lord's Table, the wine, the basis of a covenant union with Him when He says: " ...Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" - a marriage union in His Blood; if I were to stay with God's thought for His own, that they should know fullness, and how God is always anxious to have things filled, and does not believe in things being half filled; we should have a very large volume, but the end would be the same, namely, the universal glory of Christ. In the end He is going in His Son to fill all things, and the Church is to be the fullness of Him Who filleth all in all. Full waterpots - a humanity eventually full to the brim with the life, joy, glory of the Lord, of what He Himself is. That is all here.

Governing Factors

As to the revelation of Jesus Christ - the Light, well, that is another great theme running all the way through the scriptures. But do you notice the things which govern all this? Firstly, "Mine hour." "The mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her. Woman, what have I to do with thee?" - or, what is there in common between thee and Me; meaning, You are thinking in one realm and I am in another; you are thinking of making this feast a success; you are thinking - good woman that you are in your sensitiveness for people's dilemmas and unfortunate situations - of how we can make things easy and save them from this very awkward situation; you are thinking in the natural realm. I have other thoughts, I am here not to be a guest at a marriage, but in relation to the end for which I have come from heaven. And that phrase: "Mine hour" is always related to the great work of the Lord Jesus in His Cross, by which His universal purpose is to be accomplished. So He puts back the natural suggestion, all that is merely sentimental and earthly, and waits for the witness of the Spirit in His heart to move with the Father in relation to eternal things. "Mine hour"; that governs this thing; that lifts things off that sentimental level of the Lord gracing a wedding with His presence, helping things out socially, and it brings things out into the vastness of an eternal issue. So His Cross is basic to His very first sign.  "... manifested forth his glory."  "(...glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth." That is not something which is local, which is a time thing; that is eternal. That governs this feast. So He intended it to be.

The next thing is "the beginning of His signs." This is a significant act which carries with it such a tremendous significance which has behind it a whole realm of meaning.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 8 - "The Link of Faith")

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