The First Word of the Risen Savior: John 20

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OH 20{THE disciples had known the Lord Jesus as the One who had for them the words of eternal life. They felt they could not go away from Him. “To whom shall we go, thou hast the words of eternal life?" but now He had left them to do a work for them-to give His life a ransom for many. What a thought! That is, God had it in His counsels before the world began, to give His Son to die for the world that rejected Him. And the Son (as the pure and spotless One) not only had the will to go through it all, but He was capable as a divine Person of being made God's Lamb, to deal with the whole question of sin. There was no veil to hide the wrath of God, no veil to hide what sin was in His sight. It was all brought out in the light of God. There was no avoiding of the full cup, of wrath, no avoiding of the Father's will, and His will was to put away sin. Here was the immense question of sin, before. God, answered in the blessed sinless One made sin-taking this place not only for us, but for God's glory; going into it to deal with sin according to the holiness and righteousness of God, He looked at sin without a veil, put Himself before God to be made sin, and drank the full cup of wrath He puts away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, went under death as God's Lamb to deal with it all, to bear it all, to bear it all in His own Person-wholly alone in it-that work went on between God and His anointed, for man had no share in the work of His salvation, but the wickedness that nailed Him to the cross! It was all accomplished between God and Christ alone. Once in the end of the world He appeared to put away sin, when man's sin from the garden of Eden onward had been fully and distinctly brought out-his wilfulness and law-breaking, and rejection of Christ. Man had been fully tried, and his heart fully proved to be enmity to God. And now the stability of all things, from your individual soul up to the new heavens and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, rests in this, that God hath obtained an eternal redemption for us! that the whole question of sin is eternally and perfectly settled, according to the holiness and righteousness of God, and Christ is raised from the dead according to the eternal immutable righteousness on which all is based, redemption, eternal glory, and the new heaven and new earth, there is nothing like the cross in this way; as a fact in eternal history, nothing at all like it-the center of all God's thoughts and purposes as revealed in love. And as soon as the Lord has finished that work immutable in righteousness, raised from among the dead the public witness that God had accepted His work-His first thought is of His poor disciples. They were together, the doors shut for fear of the Jews, but Jesus comes into their midst, and what is His word to them? Peace! He brings them peace-the peace that He has made by the blood of His cross. It is as if He said to them, I have been there, dying on the cross, made sin for you, I have drunk that terrible cup of wrath for you, I have accomplished eternal salvation for you, and now there is peace for you, for you, (dear reader,) I bring it to you Myself-the peace that I have made-your sins all gone; because He bore them in His own body on the tree. The work is done, and the only thing He has to do is to bring them this peace; loving His own that were in the world, He comes to announce it to them. And, oh, let His word reach your conscience, and sink down and take root there. Did He deceive them when He said that there was peace with God for them? Did He know what He had made! Did He know that He had accomplished redemption? He who had come out from under death, from under that dreadful cup, into the full joy of His Father's countenance. Oh, well He knew it. It is the very thing that He sings praises for (see Psa. 22), for an accomplished redemption, and we have to sing with Him. We see this blessed One coming in perfect love to tell them what He knows He has wrought for them, and it is as He knows it, and that is an immense comfort for us, because we may say, I am afraid my poor wretched heart has not accepted Him enough; I do not value His work enough; and I have forgotten half the sins I have done. I do not see sin as God sees it; but that is not the ground of my peace: what gives me peace is the knowledge that God knows the full value of the work of Christ, that not a sin has escaped His eye. God has estimated it all. There is nothing of the horribleness of sin not known by Him. God has seen it all, and God has put it all away, and peace is made according to God's knowledge of sin, and according to God's putting of it away, that is the ground of my peace before Him; and when Christ says peace to me now, it is as sure as if He had judged me already on the great white throne. The offended Person has found satisfaction for my whole offense. Oh, if God is satisfied, I am! In the resurrection of Christ, God has put His seal upon Christ's accomplished work; now that all that concerned my simple state is gone, and done with before God-nothing remains but the carrying out of Divine love in righteousness. I have got peace, faith believes it, believes that God cannot see a spot on me unless He denies the work of Christ. This peace is an immense thing; the very title God is pleased to take is, God of peace, for we are reconciled to God. The Lord completes the position of those who are brought into this condition before God, He breathes on them, and says, receive ye the Holy Ghost. He gives the living power of life in us in order to enjoy it, and in order that we may know that we are in Him who is gone up to His Father, and now our Father, to His God, and now our God; and mark the place this life in Christ in glory sets us in, in the world which has rejected Him: as the Father has sent Him, so He sends us with forgiveness of sins into this poor world. Now I can turn round and tell you about remission of sins-because I have got it for myself. I echo this blessed testimony to the world. I have got a Savior; I have got a divine life in Him; I have got it, I am not hoping' to get it, I have it all now in that risen Christ; I have drunk of the living water; I say to you, will you come and drink; Christ could say, come to ME, but I can say, whosoever thirsteth, come, I know that there is living water there. And now, have you such a possession of Christ, that you can go and say to the world, I have got what you have not a bit of; I have got a thing from Christ in glory? If not, you have not got the peace that God gives, that Christ made, and that Christ brings.