A woman's love.
"Why weepest thou?" The words were addressed to a woman stricken with deepest grief.
With her companions she was early at the tomb. Close to her breast she had borne the spices prepared for the embalming. This was to be the last act of tenderest love.
So earnest in their purpose, the women were, at first, oblivious to that great obstacle to their mission. Then the thought occurred.. "The stone!" that great slab that sealed the tomb, "Who would roll it away?" Sickened by the frustrating prospect, they nevertheless proceeded, when suddenly the ground shook beneath their feet. Fear now spurred them on.. but their arrival at the place was to add the more to their confusion. As if by some mighty force that stone was heaved aside.. the tomb exposed! They peered within, but in the gloom could not perceive the body they sought. Then at the tomb, strange figures appeared in apparel that seemed to shine in the shadowy first light of dawn. They heard, as in a dream.. the words.. "You are looking for the Jesus of Nazareth Who was crucified.. "He is not here, for He is risen as He said.. "On the third day He would rise..!"
They hastened away to tell the disciples, and soon Peter and John were running to view the empty tomb. At last they depart, but Mary lingers at the tomb, weeping. To her the whole situation conveyed only confusion of mind. She was bewildered, and broken hearted.
Stooping, she looked yet again into the tomb. Now she was startled by the appearance of figures sitting there within, even where the body of Jesus had lain. "Why are you crying?" they ask, to which Mary pours out her grief. Her words reveal the state of her mind, and lack of comprehension. "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him..."
Then she heard that voice.. the same question echoed, this time from the lips of a stranger standing there behind her. "Why are you crying? Who are you seeking?" It has to be one of the most poignant moments in sacred history.
She turns to see, her first thought that this may be the keeper of the garden.. He may have the answer to her distress. Was it you? Did you move the body? Tell me where, that I might bear it away. She was standing, looking at, but not recognising, the answer to all her fears and all her grief. It required one familiar sound for the scales to fall from her eyes. The sound of her name, spoken in the way that only her Lord used.. "Mary!"
II. The Master's Joy.
Can we just pause for a moment to think of the Master's deep feelings at this hour. For Him the agony of the cross was now dispelled by every blessed sense of that fullness of life that burst forth within Him.
The deep awareness of victory over death. Sown in weakness... raised in triumphant power! Here was the beginning of that joy that had enabled Him to endure so much. Joy of knowing He had finished in unswerving faithfulness that which had been entrusted to Him by His Father. Confirmation that the sacrifice was totally acceptable unto God. Realisation of the blessed implications for every member of the human race.
Oh what joy unspeakable.. a joy shared that same hour with that One He loved so much.. His Father above. Can we, mere mortals, comprehend the great joy in heaven that attended this most blessed hour? We only know that never could it have been equalled throughout the ages of eternity past. And Jesus was the centre of that great joy. Those first conscious moments of that resurrected Mind of Christ.. What a flood of holy thoughts, what sense of delight and satisfaction!
And now He turns to one of his first joyful acts.. to show Himself alive to His dearest earthly friends. And who does He choose for that first moment of revealing? A woman. Mary Magdalene, of whom we read in two gospel accounts.. "Out of whom were cast seven devils." What sacred bond lies here between the Saviour and one whose life was once so destitute of hope.
Here see we the church, in a woman so deeply appreciative of the Master's saving power. Did He not deliver us from the power of darkness, the seven-fold dominion of the Adversary, prince of all the kingdoms of this world. Why were we so favoured? From so great a death, why did He choose to deliver you and me? The result is a bond that no human relationship can fully express. He has given for us the Bride price.. but that price exceeded far all the riches of this earth. With His own blood He bought us.. What a price indeed! We are not our own.. From henceforth we belong to Him. That moment of meeting.. the woman, and her risen Lord.. So much could be said of the Master's enquiry.. "Why are you crying?" "Who are you seeking?" The presence of that One Who is the very centre of all our joys, Oh that we could sense the blessed fullness of that satisfaction and delight that resides in Him alone. Could we but for one moment see Him as He is.. that glorious Being, vibrant with life and love.. Could we but hear His voice at those moments of deepest grief.. "Why do you cry?"
Let us think too of the holy emotion of that Master, Who knows all that is in the heart, in that moment of great closeness, in which He awaits recognition.
III. The Emmaus Road
The angels had reminded the women of the Master's promise concerning the third day. Before the happy confirmation of sight, their hearts were being urged to release within them the full blessedness of the power of faith. Why did the Lord do it that way? Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.
Our next reference to the third day brings us to the familiar scene of the Emmaus road. Again, the account is in emotive language that touches the heart each time the story is told. Years ago, many of the brethren had in their homes the picture of those two on the way from Jerusalem to Emmaus, so deeply engaged in discussion together, not noticing that third figure drawing near. It is all so beautiful. We who read the account are in the secret. We know what awaits them, know Who it is that seems such a stranger unto them. How many talks have been based on this narration of Luke 24! ..How many lessons drawn from every aspect of that picture presented to our minds! Is there anything left that has not been said... many times?
Their eyes were holden that they could not perceive. How aptly do these words alike convey that sense of great drama as Israel, at this very moment, look upon their Messiah. They view Him now in the very things taking place.. Those Jews who treasure the Word of Scripture, know these are works of their Messiah. They know that what is happening, from that very first act of the bringing together of the bones, is the work of that Deliverer for Whom they have waited long.
For many centuries, even millenia, they have known that their restoration would be the work of their Messiah, the signs that would accompany His presence.. His standing up for His people, Israel. When, earlier in the age, move was made to return to their land, this was at once denounced as blasphemous. It can not be until Messiah comes. Today, they are in their land.. Yet their eyes are holden. The moment of truth, the moment of awakening of the senses, the moment of recognition, still awaits them.
That this is the third day is fact beyond dispute. Two and a half thousand-year-days of Israel's tomb-like experiences have passed, and the promise of Hosea is upon us.
Hosea 6:1-3 1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. 3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
IV. Israel's awakening.
Oh what an awakening! What flood of recognition! Like that light of glory that shone upon the Damascus road, that moment of truth will dawn, and turn fierce antagonist to bond servant of the Lord.
But for the moment, their eyes are holden. They see the signs, visible signs, indeed, many infallible proofs. They are puzzled, confused, but unable to perceive the full implications of what they see and hear.
Such was the state of heart of those two on the Emmaus road. Strange stories circulated around the empty tomb, and claims were made of angelic messages. "Besides all this," they said to the Stranger, " it is now the third day..." At least that fact had been revived in their minds while their faith still fell short of fuller realisation.
"Today, is the third day!" This time prophecy of Jesus He had spoken on more than one occasion, yet its sense had escaped their minds. Now those words of Jesus had been brought to their remembrance. The time had run out.. THIS was the third day!
One later day, as good Bible students, these two may well ask.. "Why .. the third day?" "Why not the second day, or the fourth, or any other period?" At that moment such questions would be merely academic. They were on the verge of that great truth that eclipsed all else ... "Jesus lives!" The details and explanations could wait. But today, at greater distance time-wise, the present perspective allows such a question to be considered
V. The third day.
In John 20:9, John recalls the scene as he and Peter first viewed the empty tomb, and he confesses "For as yet they knew not the scripture, that He must rise from the dead." "The scripture.." What scripture might that be? Psalm 16:10, was to become a key scripture after the event, and was often quoted by the early church.. "For Thou wilt not abandon my life to the grave, nor suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption."
By the fourth day corruption would have set in, however perfect the human flesh, for once dead it would become subject to the natural process of decay. We recall how, at the tomb of Lazarus, the request by Jesus to view the corpse was met by the reminder of the ever practical Martha.. "Lord, by this time he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days."
Later, in his letter to the Corinthian brethren (1Cor. 15:3, & 4,) Paul himself alludes to the prophetic forecast of scripture concerning the resurrection of Jesus. "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
VI. Type and shadow.
Was this a deduction made by Paul, similar to the one we have just made, based on Psalm 16, that the third day would be the latest time to demonstrate that death had truly taken place, yet short of the decomposition of the corpse? Or was Paul speaking of the language of type and shadow in the sacred Word foretelling, for example, in the three days of Isaac's journey with Abraham to Mt Moriah where he would be received from the dead as in a figure? Did Paul refer to the language of the prophet Hosea 6:2, already mentioned, "After two days He will revive us; in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.." The subjects of this statement are the people of Israel, but this promise has been related by Christians to the experience of Jesus, in Whose resurrection we too are raised to newness of life. Some early Jewish commentators were ingenious on that text. The first day, they said, deliverance from Egypt, the second day, deliverance from Babylon, and the third, yet to come, the final deliverance under the lead of their Messiah. With similar logic we might well relate these three days in wider sphere to the whole human race, typified as they are so often by Israel.. The first day being Adam's day, a thousand years of dying.. The second being the typical shadowy kingdom age from Moses to the captivity.. also a thousand years.. The final thousand years of true kingdom development would be the third day. The reign of sin and death from Adam to Moses, was a curse not lifted by the typical kingdom period under the Law. Full deliverance is reserved for the third thousand year day of Christ.
Students of the Word today would have good reason, however, to recognise in these words of Hosea 6:2, an allusion to the great time periods of the plan of God which particularly pertain to the people of Israel. These would be much in line, for example, with the comment of Merril Unger, born 1909 and published 1981 by Moody Press. Here he refers to the two days as ".. evidently prophetic days of a thousand years each; Compare Psalm 90:4 & 2 Peter 3:8" where a thousand year day is referred to. Unger then relates the "third day" to the restoration of Israel now in process during the third thousand year day from the time of the prophecy and including the subsequent period of Israel's captivity. The commentator goes on to suggest that the language can be viewed as referring also to Messiah Himself as embodying the ideal Israel of God (Isaiah 49:3), that Son called "out of Egypt", as Israel was, yet these words are alike applied to Jesus.. Who also was raised from the dead on the third day.
Our Lord's own words direct our attention to the entombment of Jonah in the great fish. We shall look at that in a moment, but first perhaps we might gain some general feeling about the use of "three," and "third day," in the Scriptures. The very first use of the number is in Genesis 1:13.. The "third day" was the day on which the earth was caused to rise up out of the water. Life begins, as various forms of vegetation spread over the earth. In the great dramatic language of creation's history is thus expressed the rise out of the lifeless waters of the great deep of that new condition of life in all possible variety upon this earth.
VII. Third day in the O.T.
The addition of the third dimension turns a plane into a solid, a square into a cube. The essence of solidity, of reality, of completeness, is thus introduced in the number three. The deliberate use of "three" in the Scriptures would take too long to demonstrate if every example was referred to. Likewise the references to the "third day" are numerous. The three days journey into the wilderness requested for the Israelites by Moses, (Exodus 5:3) represented the completeness of separation whereby the Lord would separate His people from Egypt , illustrating also our complete separateness from the world even now.
Likewise it was a three day march that Jacob stole on Laban in fleeing from his domain, illustrating that flight from servitude of the Gentile powers by the Jew at this end of the age. A complete separation, sovereign independence, not Gentile mandate, was required of God. Completion, certainty, solidity.
The completion of the divine requirements is demonstrated again by Jesus Luke 13:31-33 Satan, through Herod and the Pharisees, sought to scare the Master into some deviation from His course by the threat of an early death. To this threat Our Lord replied.. "Go tell that fox, Behold I cast out demons, and do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall have finished." Undoubtedly Jesus was giving answer in language which Satan, at least, would understand. Like Abraham, the Master was, as He spoke, three days journey from the place of sacrifice. Nothing could intervene. ... All must be fulfilled. Jerusalem, three days journey away, was the place for His death, not Galilee.
His followers too must complete their course. All that the course was designed of God to accomplish must be achieved. There can be no short cuts, nor can premature disaster overtake the Lord by surprise. His work in each one must be as thorough, as complete, as finished, as with their Master.
Genesis 42:18, takes us back to Israel again. Joseph's brethren stand before him. They are in the very presence of that one they so roughly handled, even the one whose death they had sought. But their eyes are holden that they fail to recognise the identity of him who is now their saviour.
"Three days" are they to spend in prison, all of them. (verse 17.) Then, in verse 18, "Joseph said unto them the third day, 'This do, and live; for I fear God.'" He directs them to follow a course that he knows will bring home to them a deep sense of guilt, mourning, and repentance, before He is to reveal himself unto them in that scene of deepest emotion and tears. They had been so ready to take that one loved of his father, and vent their evil upon him. Now through harsh and searching ordeal, would they experience a remarkable reversal of spirit and attitude. Self-sacrifice, and brotherly love, was to drive out evil from their hearts.
VIII. Moment of Truth.
How far off seem the people of Israel even now from that change of heart, yet things are happening, the process is underway even as we speak. The Lord knows just what He is about with Israel. "I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness..." Through many tears will that change be achieved, and then will the time have come for that moment of truth. No longer will their eyes be holden. They will gaze upon the One pierced by their hands, gaze first, no doubt with fear at the realisation of what they have done.. Then overwhelmed by the realisation of what God has achieved through their guilt. "Come near", said Joseph.. and they came near.
There is a moment of truth reserved for each member of the race. -The poor groaning creation.. awaking from death will gaze with wonder at the feast prepared. -The people of Israel.. scales falling from their eyes, will behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.. a glory fulfilling and excelling by far that of the Mosaic ministry. -The woman, representing each member of the church.. beholding in resurrection grace and blessedness the beauty of their Lord, as He confesses them each by name before His Father. -These are wonderful moments of truth, reserved for the "third day" in the great purpose of God.
IX. Jonah and the Jew.
Let us turn now to Jonah. [The book of Jonah comes after Hosea, Joel, Amos, and Obadiah. If you are now in Micah go back! ] I will read the Master's words in Matthew 12:38 to 40 while you keep your place in Jonah.
The Pharisees were seeking a sign of the Lord's Messiahship. They has been inundated with signs.. the words He spoke, .. the works He did, .. miraculous works, wonderful works. But their eyes were holden. One day they were to angrily exclaim to Jesus.. "Are we blind also..?" We know the Master's reply to that one! Blinded by prejudice, pre-judgement. They had their own photo-kit image of what the Messiah would be like when He came.. even such an one as themselves. He would be a glowing example of Pharisaical external holiness. This man of Galilee, of Nazareth, greatly offended all their dignified concepts. Their demand for a sign was like a blind man standing at the traffic lights waiting for the little green man to appear. There was no sign that would satisfy such minds, and thus they fulfilled the words of God (Isaiah 6) "See ye indeed, but perceive not.."
Matt 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
X. The Sign.
Matt 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The Greek word translated "seeketh" in vse 39, "seeketh a sign", is an intensive compound and to convey it fully we need use such a word as "crave," or "persistently seek".. "keep on seeking." It reminds us of the phrase used by one Pharisee later in 2Timothy 3:7. "ever learning, and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth." Few could have had greater Scripture knowledge than Saul of Tarsus, yet the truth evaded him, until the light engulfed him on the shining road.
Jesus then went on to speak of a further comparison with Jonah, this time pointing to the effect of Jonah's ultimate ministry at Ninevah, the great heathen centre of paganism. vse 41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas [is] here. On two counts Jesus draws attention to comparisons and contrasts with the experiences of Jonah. The Master undoubtedly saw a relevance in the account of Jonah's experiences to the people and situation He now addressed. Is there more?
What is the book of Jonah all about? It seems a rather remarkable portion to include in the Holy Scriptures. Jesus called him a "prophet", and, true enough, 2Kings 14:25 mentions this. He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which [was] of Gathhepher.
However, the Book of Jonah seems to be an account of the deviation of a man called to be the Lord's servant. God chose one path, but Jonah decided on another. The Lord said "Go east.. to Ninevah.." Jonah immediately went west, with a view of going as far as possible in the opposite direction.
Whatever was Jonah up to? -And why is all this recorded for us? -And why does Jesus draw attention to such a devious and unwilling servant, and make any such comparisons whatever with Himself?
Undoubtedly there is an important message here, and more than one lesson. We cannot study the account long before we realise that we are not merely looking at one man, called to be the Lord's servant, but that we are seeing depicted there the whole nation of Israel. In fact the whole story of Jonah is seen to be a sign, something relevant and significant, concerning that covenant people of God.
Jonah knew that if the Lord was sending him to preach repentance to Ninevah He would be planning something,.. something full of mercy and kindness towards a nation that Jonah, like all Jews, had come to loathe.
XI. Mercy to Ninevah.
The Jews felt they had every reason to hate the unclean, uncovenanted people of this pagan realm, their sworn enemies. Jonah's instincts told him what the Lord might have in mind, and Jonah did not like it! Jonah 1:3.. "He rose up.." not to obey, but to disobey. This was a "hard saying" of the Lord, and Jonah was offended by it. If the Lord was planning the kind of generous and merciful exhibition of kindness towards these Gentile dogs that Jonah suspected, he wanted nothing of it.
Now Jonah's father was called Ammitai, which means, "the truth of God." His own name, Jonah, meant "a dove". Jonah had been brought up, at least representatively, in the truth of God, and as a dove flying to the shelter of a great Rock, he had learnt to accept the Lord's protecting care over His people. But this was something else! Here was the Lord about to show the same loving care towards those who were not His people.
We get a reflection of the senses of pride and selfish egoism of the people of Israel. True their earliest promises through Abraham mentioned something about being a blessing to all families of the earth. On the whole, however, they had come to so despise the other heathen peoples, their enemies, that the greatest blessing they could conceive for them was extinction. Furthermore, Jonah was well aware that Israel at that time were far from walking with their God.
The reign of the second Jeroboam, king of Israel, may have done something towards the cleansing of the land, but its effects did little to change the ways of a rebellious people. Conscious of the waywardness of the covenant people of God, it was hard to stomach the possibility of any act of repentance on the part of Ninevah that might bring them into favour with God.
What a host of points we have here. A nation, depicted in Jonah, called to be the Lord's servant in blessing the families of earth, brought up in truth, taught to look to the protective wings of the God of Jacob, yet we find them flagrantly pursuing a course in direct opposition, because the ways of God are not in their heart.
Jonah knew that he could not fly from the Lord's presence.. "Whither shall I flee from Thy presence?" Psalm 139:7. He was fleeing from the face of the Lord, that means from His favour in the role of an obedient servant. Israel, no longer the Lord's active servant, are thus shown driven from their land by what? .. By their lack of love for the ways of the Lord. For a while the Lord has to turn His face from them.. He has to withdraw His favour. Yet the Lord knew exactly what His chosen servant would do, and what He, the Lord would also do to yet achieve in them His wondrous purpose. "Ye shall show forth My praise." His people, represented in Jonah, were now in a perilous condition, adrift in a vulnerable little ship, their lot cast in with that of the world, their fellow passengers.
XII. Entombment of Israel.
Every hour took them further away, so it seemed, from the Lord's design for them. Yet would their conscience be stirred. Again and again they would be counted as scapegoats for the misfortunes of mankind. Yet Jonah 1;12 reveals a change of feeling towards the very heathen once despised, a willingness for self sacrifice to the blessing of others. Nevertheless, they would be entombed, as was Jonah, in the great fish the Lord had prepared. By all natural laws the digestive juices of that great fish should drain the life from Jonah, yet the Lord preserves him three days and nights.. .. entombed as a nation as good as dead. Only then would Jonah, and only then would Israel, experience deliverance as a people, when the great fish would be made to give up its captive prey.
Jeremiah 51:34, fills in some of the detail. Jere 51:34 Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out. The prophet Jeremiah then goes on to speak of the Lord's deliverance of Israel from that entombment by the overthrow of Babylon. The Lord, said Jeremiah, would dry up Babylon's sea.. Or, as the account in Jonah 2:10, And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry [land].
Brethren. This is that third day. The waters, the many peoples, supporting Babylon recede. It is in the shallows. And coincident with Babylon's going down we see Israel rising up. Her three days of entombment are ended, and before the eyes of the whole world, the Lord has caused her to be brought forth on dry land... the promised land.
From the very depths could Jonah pray to God.. "Yet hast Thou brought up my life from corruption." Jonah 2:1. Three days, the third thousand year day, yet preserved of God, for what? For the fulfilment of His purpose in them.. to be the blessers of mankind. A change of heart is produced in Jonah, and, at the end, he fulfils the divine purpose, and Ninevah repents and is saved.. True, her salvation is only for a time.. It is all typical and shadowy.. nevertheless, the whole plan of God for his servant Israel is there depicted, though we have not time to stress every detail.
Those three days in the tomb for Our Blessed Lord have their counterpart in the experience of the people of Israel. Only at the end of Israel's entombment would the veil be lifted, their eyes holden no more, .. the sign given by Jesus, the sign of Jonah the prophet, would be understood. Then would that change of heart result in the completion of the divine purpose. In the words of Paul.. Roma 11:15 For if the casting away of them [be] the reconciling of the world, what [shall] the receiving [of them be], but life from the dead?
Exactly on time in the great drama of the ages the resurrection of the nation of Israel takes place before our eyes, as described so vividly in Ezekiel 36 and 37. XIII. Rise the third day.
Ezek 37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which [was] full of bones, 2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, [there were] very many in the open valley; and, lo, [they were] very dry. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
Here, dear brethren is the great sign for which, unknowingly, the whole world have been waiting these many centuries. Here is the confirmation that this is the third day. Pointed out by time prophecy, now confirmed by event, the day of resurrection is here! The process has begun, and we know it must continue until every word of that great Ezekiel prophecy is fulfilled.
As the earth shakes, a nation rises from the tomb, signal for the great work of this new age to proceed. Before the age is done the whole world will be back from death. Exodus 19,11 & 15..And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: For then would they come into covenant relationship with God, a relationship which in its full realisation will mean that they "go on to know the Lord," and "eternal life."
But before the sign is recognised by Israel, while their eyes are yet holden, and while the world goes on oblivious of the great sign of the Lord's activity and its wondrous implications for this earth, the Lord first reveals Himself . . . to a woman. Between them is a precious bond. Will her faith enable her now to fully believe the angelic message that speaks of His living vibrant presence? Can she, from the promise of her Master's lips, knowing this is the third day, know too that blessedness where belief anticipates sight? For the Lord first revealed Himself not be sight, but by a message, a message of angels, that He was again present. Faith was required to believe that message, and to realise the joy of believing. Early in the harvest years, a similar message was given that the One so long unseen by human eyes was here, was present again. That message was to test the faith of the Lord's people. Were these but idle tales? Were they but delusions of the mind prompted by yearning desire? was the wish father to the thought? There was to be much running to and fro of Peter's, and Johns, and others, and varying interpretations placed upon the evidence to hand. And these same heart-searching questions will continue until our change, that blessed moment of truth's full confirmation.. when we see him face to face. But at last that moment comes, S Song 3:4 I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go. .. and tears of sorrow yielded to tears of joy.
This is the third day. All the implications of this hour are here for us to feast on. The visible resurrection process of the nation of Israel is an infallible sign of that programme commenced which will bring about the wiping away of all tears. XIV. Our glorious hope.
But it is a sign too of something happening right now, something almost too wonderful to envisage..
The resurrection of our glorious Head, Jesus, thenceforth led to newness of life for each true follower, a new mind was formed, and each became alive, alive to God, risen with Christ, and seated in heavenly places in Him.
Each step of the way, by that life giving Spirit, the saints have tasted that resurrection power in their lives. The outward man? Yes it has perished and will continue to do so, but the inward man is renewed day by day. In this new life of the Spirit each saint has given witness to the resurrection of Jesus.
But now it is the third day! Now is the hour of resurrection, that deliverance of the Body members of Christ. Brethren, the day of resurrection is here upon us.. and, if we can receive it, it is happening now! First, the resurrection of the saints.. First to commence, before even the national resurrection of Israel. First in honour, first in time.
For we who wait, that moment - face to face - lies yet before us. The breathing of my name from the lips of Him Whom my soul loveth. The moment of realisation of hope's most blessed dreams. Together then in blessed unity of thought and vision the saints are gathered at His feet.
The quiet faith of John enabling him to perceive truth before even Peter, the misgivings of Thomas, desperate for that total confirmation of sight, all such differences among the saints will be swallowed up before the glory of that moment of truth. Brethren, the variations of human logic, the diversity of mental judgment, those differences among us that may test how genuine our patience and how real our love, the 'knowing in part..' of each one of us, is all temporary, all passing. These things are needful preparation for a ministry of reconciliation that will demand deep understanding of the human mind. Before us lies a blessed moment of truth, when we see Him as He is, and know as we are known of Him.
Yet earnest is our prayer, that even now we may know the full joy of truth perception, that my eyes may not be holden, but that I may know with deepest heart appreciation every blessed revealing of Himself that the Lord is waiting so ready to impart.
Click for Patterns for the Last days