brief word, dear friends, at this point. If you will please turn
to the familiar 24th chapter of the Gospel by Luke.
The Gospel by Luke, chapter 24, at verse 16: "But their eyes were
holden that they should not know Him." Verse 31, "...and their eyes
were opened and they knew Him."
first like you to notice the exact way in which these things are
said: "Their eyes were
holden that they should not, that they should not, know
Him." And their
eyes were open? No, "...their eyes were opened!" Notice
that in both places it is as though something deliberately
happened to them or
acted; as though there were an act on the part of someone, that
made them unable to know Him;
as though someone had put a veil over their
eyes deliberately, just deliberately, that they should
not know Him. And then it was as though that was just as
deliberately removed; and
they were not
open, but opened! An act in removing
that blindness and
they knew Him by the act.
not agree with me, I don't mind if you don't, but I believe that
from the time of the disciple's
call to the day of Pentecost, they were in a state of
parenthesis. Everything was parenthetical. And that parenthesis
was gathered up and cumulative in the forty days after the
Resurrection. So that what was happening in that parenthetical
period was incidental;
that is, a number of incidents without any finality. Something
happened and another thing happened, but it never went through.
It just happened,
On the day of Pentecost, the incidents were gathered together
and made the permanent, normal Christian life; the continuous
thing. This was something happening
now, and He vanishes. It
hasn't gone through, hasn't been established,
nothing positive and remaining. Another thing will happen like
that, perhaps in a
moment, in an hour, and He vanishes, He took off. It's an
incident, and another incident. And when you come to the day of
Pentecost, all the "incidents" are gathered
together into one basis of life for the whole dispensation.
I believe, is the meaning here... this particular incident at
Emmaus, on the road to Emmaus, and at Emmaus. Do you notice, in
that walk (it's a focal
point, I feel, of this whole conference) on
the way to Emmaus, these two who walked and were sad. They were
in despondency and despair. Their hearts were down, as we say,
in their boots. Everything had gone; nothing left. They were
dwelling upon the Cross from the purely natural side; on the death
side of the Cross, the death side of the Cross. If you stay
there, that's where you will be.
have been in a time in my life where the message of the Cross,
yes, the message of the Cross... but always the death side.
It was as though [I was] standing over a corpse and dissecting
it, bit by bit, bit by bit, taking this corpse to pieces and
exposing it, dwelling upon it, examining it. The self, the self...
all occupied with this wretched dead corpse, and that was the
interpretation of the message of the Cross: the death, the
death, the death. And you know, it got nowhere. It led to a lot
of confusion and a lot of contradiction, and this is where these
two were, just on the death side of the Cross from the
natural standpoint. The death, the death. "We trusted that it
had been He that should redeem Israel," but, but, but... "three
days elapsed," and so on and so on. And so they were as they
were: sad and miserable, perplexed and wretched because they
were on the death side only.
came along side, took out the Bible and went through the Bible
showing that although the Cross was constituent in the purpose
and work and plan of God, the Cross was not an end; was not an end only of
the natural. The Cross really was intended to be an open door to
a new hope, "Blessed be the God and Father...."
Peter, who was one
of these men up there in Jerusalem, very miserable, came to see
and say, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, Who hath begotten us again to a living hope by
the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." And the Lord
Jesus on that walk opened the Scriptures and He opened, so to
speak, He opened the Cross into a new life, a new realm,
not an end in death, but a beginning in Life. And you notice
what a change, what a change in them; they got to the end of the
day, to the end of the journey, and they had said, "The day is
far spent! The day is far spent, it's dangerous to be on the
road now at night, the brigands are on the road, it's dangerous,
and, uh, well, we're tired." But brigands or no brigands,
tiredness or no tiredness, they went back to Jerusalem at the
double, because He had shown that the Cross, while it was in the
plan of God for a purpose, really, it was not an end, but a
to our words: "Their eyes were deliberately holden that they should
not know Him. But after He had expounded the full meaning of the
Cross... ought not, ought not the Christ to suffer and to enter
into His glory." The full meaning of the Cross; the Life side;
the glory side; He had given them that. Their eyes were opened;
deliberately opened. What I am saying is this, dear
friends, that there is a Divine Fiat which should take
place when, when the Cross has had its place, done its
work, been accepted for its own meaning, but we have moved on,
onto Resurrection ground; onto the Life side. Then our eyes are
opened. And the focus of all this, which I think to be so
important, oh, I can't tell you how important I know it to be:
the real issue of a right apprehension of the Cross and entering
into it, it's meaning, is that a spiritual faculty inside is
created for spiritual understanding.
to explain it in this way. For years, for years, I was
a Christian. Yes, I know I belonged to the Lord. I was a
preacher of the gospel; I was an expounder of the Scriptures.
Yes, I could take you through all the scriptures, and find
Christ in all the Scriptures. I could do it all! Expound the
scriptures, analyse the books of the Bible; give it to you all
like that. Then, there came a crisis, a deep crisis: a crisis of
the Cross, yes, for an end; an end that has its place and an
essential place, but the crisis of the Cross, or the climax of
the Cross, in a new position!
A New Position
was the chief mark of that new position? It is what I have
always called, and many of you have heard me speak of it, my open
heaven, an opened heaven; a faculty, a spiritual faculty
was, so to speak, born within. Whereas before all this work on
the Scriptures was hard going, having to get the latest books on
the doctrine of the Cross; and all that... cumulating all the
works belonging to the theological libraries. My word, it was
hard work! As I have said: finding the straw myself for making
the bricks! Oh, years of it.
crisis, the turning point, now that was forty-seven years ago. From that day to this, I have never had to put in any labourious
work to get a message! An open heaven! If you don't believe it,
believe me, remember what I said this morning: I want another
whole week just to touch on one aspect of things. You know, it's
like that! It's like that. It's the twelve baskets full over
after all the feedings, of all the days and the hours. An opened
heaven! You're seeing, seeing, seeing! More and more!
was it that I came to see with that new faculty? It's a
wonderful thing. It's a faculty; it isn't an intellectual
ability at all. Nothing like that, I haven't got any brains,
I'm a no-talent man in that realm. No, it isn't there. What did
I see? Did I see the Cross? No, I did not, in the first place.
Did I see the Church? Not in the first place. However much of
the Cross I've come to see, and however much of the Church I
have come to see, how did I come to see? I saw the Lord
Jesus. And I came to see that it's the Person that makes
the Cross. You can have a thousand, a million crosses, with not
that effect. It's the Person.
got to interpret the Cross in the light of the Person. Who
is it that is in the Cross? That's why Paul said to these
very, very intellectual Corinthians, "I determined to know
nothing among you save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." And Him
crucified! No, seeing the Lord Jesus, that alone is the
way of seeing the meaning of the Cross.
Church? Oh, a wonderful subject, the Church. Wonderful subject.
The Church... you can keep on for years talking about the Church.
How did I come to see the Church? I came to see it, and
I believe I did, because when I saw, it was an emancipating
thing; from all the imitations, all the imitations, all
the traditions. I saw the Church because I saw the Lord Jesus;
that He! If you understand the Lord Jesus, you know what
the Cross and the Church is. You know what the Church is if you
see the Lord Jesus because, after all, what is the Church? It
is but the embodiment, the corporate embodiment of Himself.
And this Church is a vast
thing because it is as great as Christ. And if you can get the
dimensions of Christ, you'll see the dimensions. Do you see what
I am trying to say?
then, everything is gathered into and focused upon one thing.
You have heard the expositions. Perhaps you have been in the
despair of the death. Perhaps everything has gone; everything
is gone. Or perhaps you have been in confusion, but you've heard
the expositions, Moses and the Prophets, and all the Psalms. But
you still are held until an act, an act of God the Holy
Spirit; a Fiat which means your eyes are opened; your inward
eyes opened. Something has happened.
Oh, how I've known all
that! These men
were men of the Bible. They were Hebrews, as far as we can tell.
They knew the Scriptures; men of the Bible, but when they had
their eyes opened, it was as though they had never known the
Bible at all. It's a new Bible!
had all the teachings, the expositions. Dear friends, what we
need is this act; this inward act. Oh, I can't explain it. I've
no time even to try to expound it, but it is something infinitely
precious, infinitely wonderful if the eyes are opened
and you see not Zion as a doctrine, a teaching... not even the
overcomers as some thing in the Bible, but you see Him.
not thinking about visions, you know I'm not, of a person... these
psychic apparitions, visitations. I'm thinking of a spiritual
seeing of the significance, the significance, the implications
of the Son of God: vast, eternal, beyond all comprehension... His
greatness. And it's Himself that interprets everything;
interprets everything by the act of the Spirit. That act of
the Spirit must come upon all Scriptures and everything else in our
tradition, and open our eyes.
what I meant, you see, they had the incident; the incident of
the opened eyes. And it meant a lot. They went back to
Jerusalem; told them all about it. But still they hadn't seen
because presently they will say, "Lord, dost Thou at this time
restore the kingdom to Israel?" They're still in the "not". They hadn't seen, they hadn't seen. But from the
day of Pentecost, the act
of the Spirit: an entirely new conception because they had
now, by the Spirit, seen the Lord.
understand what I am saying? And I say to you, go away from this
time saying, "Lord, with all the teaching, all we've heard, all
the Bible before us, do this inward thing of creating this
spiritual faculty, being able to see what no natural
eyes can see." It will be transforming.
went to Jerusalem and they broke in on the others. And what does
the chapter say? They told them how He was made known unto them
in the breaking of bread. The Cross on all its sides, death and
Life. This, oh that the Lord would make this simple time, this
short, brief time, in the breaking of bread, time when we see,
we see Him. Now eyes are not open, but opened;
something happens to us. Ask the Lord to make it like that after
this week: opened eyes!