Dead men don’t stand! How energizing it is to rejoice in the certain truth of the message of the angel to visitors to the tomb, ‘he is not here: for he is risen’, Matt. 28. 6! He is alive and that forevermore!
On four occasions in the last two chapters of John’s Gospel, the Saviour is presented as ‘standing’. On each of these occasions, the vitality of the risen One meets the need of the saints.
To a weeping mourner, who was distraught and weary, He appears ‘standing’, John 20. 14. The hopelessness and disappointment of her soul is met in one word from the standing Saviour. He stood before her in the evident power of resurrection. As we seek to exercise devoted service to God, have we lost hope? That hope will be rekindled as we remember that our Saviour stands unique, in that today He lives! In this is demonstrated the power that is behind all the purposes of God – He cannot fail; He is not dead, He is alive!
To a gathering of His disciples, fearful of the world outside, a standing Saviour brings peace, v. 19. Are we, as the Lord’s people, seeing the hostility of the world grow towards us and experiencing fear? Perhaps we can draw some help from this incident. Despite the seeming power against us, the power that is in us is beyond any other, and has been demonstrated to be so in that our Saviour rose again! I note what He did as He strengthened them, ‘he shewed them his hands and his side’, v. 20. How important for any assembly to keep close to such truths. In my humble experience, I truly believe that the weekly shewing of ‘the Lord’s death’ is part of the divine plan for keeping His people encouraged in a hostile world, 1 Cor. 11. 26. I appreciate that it is not a gathering primarily intended for us to be blessed, but which of us has ever come to bless God and gone away without Him blessing us? How sad it is when such a gathering is missed.
The third occasion is to address the doubts of Thomas, v. 26. How gracious! Do you have doubts today? The Saviour was not obliged to respond to Thomas’ statement in verse 25. But with shepherd care, the ever-listening Saviour not only heard what escaped Thomas’ lips, but sees fit to personally address his needs, cp. Matt. 18. 12-14. What recovery ensued, ‘My Lord and my God’, v. 28.
The fourth occasion is to be found in chapter 21 verse 4. This time it is to a band of weary, and perhaps wayward workers. To a Mary, it was His word; to the gathered company, it was His wounds; to the doubter it was the warmth of His presence; but to those who had ‘caught nothing’, it was the reminder that He alone can provide the power for fruitfulness. They, expert fishermen though they were, had fished all night and caught nothing. Yet, He knows exactly where the fish are! They had allowed their wisdom and expertise to displace His, and as the Lord Jesus stands on the shore, He reminds them that to do His service, we must rely on Him alone! God preserve us from losing sight of a risen Saviour whom we serve.
As we enter another year in the will of the Lord, we hope that the efforts of those who have written for this issue will encourage the readers to keep close to our risen Saviour. We thank them for their kindness in contributing.