Robert E. Surgenor
Chapter Twenty One - John Following - His Consistency
"Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?' (John 21:20). Prior to Peter's observation, allow me to take you back a few steps into chapter twenty. Peter and John, having discovered an empty tomb, had left that sacred garden and returned to their own home (20:10). What thoughts must have filled their hearts. There was a mystery -where was He? All of a sudden, in the stillness comes an excited woman with the most tremendous news that ever fell upon the disciples' ears - "I have seen the Lord and He said to me, 'I ascend unto My Father, and your Father, and to My God, and your God!"' That same day in the evening, the Light of the world appeared! Locked doors were no hindrance to Him. All of a sudden, there He stood, in their midst! They had locked the doors for fear of the Jews. Immediately he allays their fears by saying, "Peace be unto you" (20:19). In other words, He is desiring for them contentment with their earthy lot, also security, safety, and spiritual prosperity. Six times we view the Lord in the midst:
(1) In the temple, where we see His perception (Luke 2:46).
(2) Among the tribes, where we observe His Provision (Acts 2:22).
(3) On the tree, where we behold His passion (John 19:18).
(4) In the testimony, where we appreciate His presence (Matt. 18:20).
(5) Before the throne, where He manifests His power and, preeminence (Rev. 5:6).
(6) Finally in John 20:19, where we find Him in the midst of, the troubled, observing in Him all that we have seen in the other "midst manifestations;" His Perception, Provision, Passion, Presence, Power and Preeminence.
Mark 16: 10 says that 'they mourned and wept.' However, before,, their mourning, the Lord had assured them, saying, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy' (John 16:20). That time had now arrived. "He showed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord' (20:20). This was not just a casual glance. Oh no! It was 04 perceiving with the eyes. It is the same word employed in verse eight, "he saw and believed.' In other words, they perceived with understanding. The word is used as one perceiving an individual, through an examination, or an interview. Let us ask ourselves, to what degree do we perceive the Lord? What do we know of His Being, His attributes, His plans, His perfections, His purposes?
The question was asked, "What think ye of Christ?' (Matt. 23:42). Let us modify that question and ask, "What know ye of Christ?" What do you know of Him as: Wonderful; Counsellor; The Mighty God; The Father of Eternity and the Prince of Peace? (Isa.'9).What would you pen, if asked to write of Him as: The Lily; The Rose; The Lamb; The Lion; The Ruler of the kings of the earth; The Faithful Witness; The Servant of Jehovah; The King of kings; The. Prophet, Priest and King; The Man of Sorrows; The First Begotten of the dead; The Alpha and the Omega; The Shepherd; Saviour; Redeemer and Friend; The Sun of Righteousness; The Bright and Morning Star and the Bridegroom? Could you write an essay on each? If you have been saved some years I would certainly hope so! Lack of the knowledge of Him comes not from a low I.Q, it comes from a lack of meditation. What other explanation can there be? It is not a question of spiritual Alzheimers, it is a problem of spiritual apathy.
With a more intimate knowledge of Christ they are now enlightened as to His purpose for them. 'As My Father hath sent (apostello) Me, even so send (pempo) I you.' "Apostello" means, 'To set apart. Delegated authority. To be sent.' The word "pempo" conveys the thought of being "dispatched under His authority.' Considering the work He is about to entrust to them, He says for the second time, "Peace be unto you.' He desires to create within them a courage in view of the work laid before them. How thoughtful he was in relation to their human frailty. Not only this, He intimates the power that they were to receive, by breathing on them and saying, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit.' This was a pledge, a promise, that was to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. Perhaps at this point they would remember His words, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if Igo not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you' (16:7).
Until the day of Pentecost arrived (fifty days later), they were, in a sense, powerless. He had previously told them that the Comforter (The Holy Spirit) was abiding WITH them, but the day was coming when the Holy Spirit would be IN them (14:17,18). When that day came, what tremendous power was seen, as Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed the men of Judaea and all that dwelt in Jerusalem. He was fearless, fervent, forceful, factual, and faithful to divine truths. The result was seen that very same day - about three thousand souls were won to Jesus, the Christ! What a monumental foundation was laid that day for the greatest work that has ever been witnessed by the human race, namely, the winning of souls to Christ! With us today, there is no waiting period for the Spirit to possess us. Paul in writing to the Ephesian saints reminds them of their immediate, indwelt power upon conversion, by stating, 'in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise' (Eph. 1: 13). A more accurate rendering of that verse goes like this. "In Whom, upon believing, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit that was promised.' Wesley was scripturally correct when he wrote:
Soon as my all I ventured,
On the atoning blood.
The Holy Spirit entered,
And I was born of God.
To be continued.