Christ In His Suffering, Trial, and Crucified by Klaas Schilder: Schilder, Klaas - Vol 1 - Christ In His Suffering: 12. Chapter 12: Christ Not “Suppressing” Satan

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Christ In His Suffering, Trial, and Crucified by Klaas Schilder: Schilder, Klaas - Vol 1 - Christ In His Suffering: 12. Chapter 12: Christ Not “Suppressing” Satan

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SUBJECT: 12. Chapter 12: Christ Not “Suppressing” Satan

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Christ Not “Suppressing” Satan

Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. He, then, having received the sop, went immediately out.

—Joh_13:27 b and Joh_13:30 a.

IN the preceding chapter we attempted to gain an appreciation of the conflict that lowered in the soul of Judas. We discovered that in the earlier part of his discipleship he had forcibly suppressed certain sinister desires and wicked passions.

We concluded that this suppression was an effect of the temporary influence of Jesus Christ upon his conscience, of Jesus Christ, that is, as Judas understood Him. The “figure” of Jesus had elicited a strange admiration from Judas at first. Jesus, when He first captivated Judas’ ambitions, had caused him almost fatal grief. In response he, with all his gifts and abilities, his fervent aspirations and passions, had yielded with a kind of mystic wonder to the charm of this new Master, who seemed to know and to be able to do almost everything. It was a halcyon time in Judas’ life, an exciting, pious period.

But the outcome had not been favorable for Judas. The issue dividing Jesus and him was never resolved. Judas lacked the one thing that mattered. He wanted the needful thing: regeneration. Really, therefore, he lacked everything. True, he had enjoyed halcyon days when he first met Jesus. He had been able to suppress his evil desires and passions — even his greed for money. Jesus had been just that entrancing.

But . . . yes, he had succeeded in inhibiting his wicked ambitions, his avarice, his self-assertion, but these had not been destroyed in principle. He had suppressed his old nature, his old man, for the time being, but that old man had not been crucified, put to death, buried. All of his fleshly drives, all his wicked motives had been temporarily subdued, but they had not been expunged, not even vanquished in principle. Judas lacked the one necessary thing: he lacked regeneration.

Regeneration and suppression are not synonymous. The person who suppresses merely transposes; he puts the beautiful in the place of the ugly, the good in the place of the bad; he simply subordinates his wicked impulses to his better aspirations. The evil, the sin, being merely transposed, still occupies the house of the soul. It is moved from the upper to the lower story of that house, but it still dwells there. And the good, the better aspirations, to which the evil must give temporary stead, is not a spiritual substance; it is a kind of natural nobility, a product of common grace, rather than of the renewing of the Spirit. Hence suppression is doubly inadequate: first, because the inhibiting influence is not a spiritual good; and, secondly, because suppression merely transposes; it does not expel evil nor destroy it.

Regeneration, however, is a work of God, a gift of grace, achieving much more than to remove evil from the conscious to the subconscious mind. The renewing of the Spirit effects a different and a greater result. It annihilates evil in principle; it severs the root. It overcomes evil with good; it does not displace, but it supplants death with life. Regeneration is the entrance of Jesus Christ into our personalities in order to conquer death in us by the new life which is this life.

This event of conversion through regeneration is, of course, a process, and therefore not completed at once. We know, and we confess that the conflict of the old with the new nature perseveres, even after regeneration. Consequently we know too that even after regeneration there remains room, in a sense, for a “suppression” of the good by the bad and of the bad by the good. Such interchange of dominance and subordination is the experience of the person renewed by the Spirit, during his progressive conversion. In a limited sense, there is some room after regeneration for the old personality to temporarily suppress the new; for the new then to re-assert its predominance over evil drives, for the old, in turn, again to attain the ascendancy . . . Alas, it is true, even after regeneration.

But in allowing for the possibility of such an interplay of suppression by the good now and the bad then in the personality of the reborn, we must make this qualification: the old nature will never permanently suppress or inhibit the new; victory is sure for the new man, for it is Christ who conquers in him.

Again, therefore: Suppression and conversion through regeneration are essentially different in kind.

To return to Judas. When a human soul such as his was remains untouched by regeneration, he has in the home of his soul only such furnishings[1] as bear the trademark of Satan. Consequently, Christ can enter the house but He cannot enter it as a Mediator; He can enter only as a person whom we respect, find fascinating, marvel at, and whom, to an extent, we are even willing to obey. But He cannot come into such a soul as Mediator, as Conqueror, as the Quickener of life through the Holy Spirit, as the One who takes us with Him into His death and afterwards raises us with Him in the resurrection. The suppressing, the inhibiting, which takes place in such a soul can merely be the psychological jugglings, the natural “up’s and down’s” of the old personality itself. At best a soul of this kind can only be aware of the least essential, of the most superficial, aspects of Christ.

[1] An allusion to Christ’s analogy of the human soul to a house containing “furnishings,” “goods,” “vessels.” Matthew 12.

The heart of Judas, the heart of the unregenerate man, refuses to be searched and renewed by Christ and His Spirit. On the contrary, it puts Christ, and even Him according to His least individual distinctiveness, under the searchlight of its own inquiry. And only in so far as such a Christ is seen and appreciated in that way can He enter into a regenerate soul of this description. His ideality can then serve to suppress for a while various base desires and evil motives (think of the influence on the greed of Judas) but it cannot vanquish sin, nor annihilate the wicked heart. The result is a personally, temporarily effected improvement. By virtue of an idea, of an ideal, of Christ, personally engendered within himself, such a man has temporarily corrected, improved, civilized himself. But he has not been smitten down by the person of Christ, he has not been converted.

In such a hapless circumstance there can be but one issue, one outcome. After a while that which was inhibited for the time being, and forcibly suppressed into the dim recesses of the subconscious life will with redoubled vehemence rush to the surface and surge into the crest of the conscious life. Because of the inhibition it will assert itself so much more violently. Long suppressed desires eventually cry for release with the vengeance of vultures. When that happens the person who embodies them does what he does quickly.

Such is a tragical evolution. But it is inevitable, is terribly logical, unless God intervenes unto repentance. For the unregenerate man may live in Christ’s company, may accommodate himself after a fashion to Jesus’ program, but essentially he will continue to live by self-assertion. Christ cannot be a Mediator to this man, for he keeps pushing the offer of the Mediator out of the center of his unrenewed personality. Yes, Christ can enter into the restive, striving, self-consuming soul of this man but only as a noble person with a pure, strong spirit, and a poised will. Yes, as a Man among men Christ may even set the man’s spirit aflame and evoke a crucial psychological conflict in his soul by placing all the unregenerate’s inhibitions under the rays of His penetrating insight. But in the crisis which Jesus arouses in that way it is not grace which triumphs. Instead the feverish process of sin and self-assertion will be quickened until the man yearns for death.

That makes the matter one of dead earnest. The crisis comes. Something must bend or it will break. The imperative of action asserts itself absolutely. The sole resource of that tragically enmeshed personality then, fatigued, exhausted as it will be, is to the dark speech issuing simultaneously from Jesus’ lips and from his own soul: What thou doest, do quickly!

Nothing now is added to what was already present in this life. Christ introduces nothing into it. What happens is this: that which is present already manifests itself. The temporarily suppressed, the momentarily inhibited, now, and this time finally, demands its rights. Its rights—precisely, for this man has never denied these. He has simply ridden rough-shod over them. He has never “operated on” his own heart, never said to it: You have no rights whatever.

Then Satan invades the soul. And the soul goes out to meet Satan. For it is the peculiar majesty of Jesus that He can conquer man without man’s first approaching Him. But Satan’s frailty is proved by this, that he cannot approach a soul unless that soul has first turned to him.

Jesus, the Mediator, introduces a new element into the regenerated person. Satan can only jostle old elements, can only agitate what is native to man.

Perhaps it will be worth the while to scrutinize this matter more closely.

We must not suppose that such spiritual inadequacy as we have just described is applicable only to such peculiarly evil natures as those of Judas and his ilk. To yield temporarily to a kind of spiritual enchantment and consequently to “suppress” base passions and desires, and at the same time to let sin assert itself is not conduct peculiar to Judas alone. To a certain extent every human being is partly subject to the same laws. Hence, his “suppression” concerns each of us vitally.

As it happens a relatively recent school of psychology has been especially attentive to precisely this phenomenon of “suppression” of “inhibition.” This school goes so far that it, if not actually basing the whole science of psychology upon that phenomenon, does try to explain most psychological processes in terms of it.

This is not the place to name the scholars who are adherents of the school, to say how much of truth, how much of falsehood we detect in it, to indicate to what extent we agree and to what extent we oppose the philosophy propounded.

This can suffice. Generally speaking, we agree that in every personality there is an unconscious, inhibiting influence exerted by one desire upon another; further, that this repressing influence is an activity of our deepest seat of conduct, of a secret will, that is, which, by reason of sin, chooses to face realistically only those data of experience which please it most; a secret will, therefore, which avails to make a service of self (that prominent alternative to the service of God) quite possible even when God pursues and Jesus charms.

Now it is remarkable to notice the remedy which this school of psychology proposes for a person as thoroughly unwholesome as that described. He will escape fleeing from himself, we are told, only when he takes each of the instincts, drives, desires, and passions which he has suppressed into the subconscious and, one by one, discloses them to the light of day by impetus of a calm mind. He must, in short, stop fleeing from the naked, terrible reality which is his self. He must stare his inhibited desires full in the face. He must confess aloud to himself that all his fears really are the product of his own personality. By unsparing self-disclosure he must learn to fear nothing that is actual.

And if he cannot achieve such self-unmasking in his own power, he must be given the assistance of another. That other person must teach him to discover his soul to his mind, to tear the veils from his unconscious life. In short, the psychiatrist must come to direct the man, who is groping blindly in his way, through the dark recesses of his personality. A psychiatrist worth the name will simply hold a mirror before his patient; he will let the searchlight of self-knowledge play unmercifully upon the personality, especially upon its obscure corners. Acutely realistic self-knowledge — so goes the theory — is the only, and is an adequate remedy for the unhealthy soul. Just so he acknowledges himself as he is and quits the attempt to circumvent such acknowledgement, he will find rest and peace in his soul. That is the contention.

We can name many objections to this theory. According to this philosophy, man can save himself; the Mediator is superfluous. We concede that self-knowledge of the kind described can improve, can civilize a man to some extent; but we know with certainty that it cannot in principle destroy the evil will of the old nature. The interpretation has no use for the terms regeneration and conversion. True, when put in practice, it makes an attempt to push aside the unsuitable “furnishings” of the soul;[1] but it makes no effort to supplant these with such new equipment as comes from above by the renewing of the Holy Spirit — furnishings which bear the trademark of God and of His Word. Hence we conclude that this new psycho-analytical doctrine of redemption is antagonistic to the Christian faith and to the one name given under heaven whereby man can be saved.

We shall say no more about it. The subject of this book is not conversion, nor psychology; the theme of this book is the suffering Christ.

[1] An allusion to Christ’s analogy of the human soul to a house containing “furnishings,” “goods,” “vessels.” Matthew 12.

We alluded to the position solely in an attempt to set Christ in clearer relief. Christ is in the room of the Passover. So is Judas. And Judas, though daily following Jesus, has been “escaping” from Him for years. Yes, Christ is in the room — therefore the crisis is pending for Judas, the great Inhibiter. The fact that these two are together in the same room makes the case of Judas with his complexes and inhibitions an exceptionally fruitful study.

For we must remember that the Christ who is present here is, in the strictest and in the broadest sense of the word, the physician of all souls. In the strict sense He is that as a Mediator for all his people by special grace. But, humanly speaking, He is also a physician in a broader sense. He is the sinless man. His spiritual life is perfectly wholesome. The activities of his mind are perfect. Well, should He not then, and simply as a man, influence all He meets and influence perfectly? This Jesus is here in Judas company. He is a sacred fire of motive energy and intellectual energy, of pure, humanly genuine desires. Moreover, He is righteous and incriminates no one.

And how does He affect Judas? What is Judas’ experience in the perfect presence of the man Christ Jesus?

So much is obvious. Christ does not function as a psychiatrist, as a physician according to the ideal of the school of psychology to which we alluded. He did not say to Judas: what thou doest, discover that quickly. Then you will be a free man. Then you can look me in the face, and will be converted. Then the sword of the archangel of an accusing conscience will vanish. No; Jesus said: What thou doest, do quickly!

Jesus by that remark fully acknowledges the fact that a man’s knowledge does not alter his being. He asserts that, in the last analysis, only two kinds of life are possible. There is the life which in the profoundest essence of its being turns to God and lives by His will through regeneration. And there is the life which in its essential reality turns to and lives by itself, a life whose dominant motif is not derived from God but is the self- engendered product of its own natural state.

Back of this dual possibility lies a profound mystery; a mystery which abundantly manifests itself in the facts of experience. We trace it back to the foundations of eternity when we tremulously speak of election and reprobation.

Christ bows to the majesty of the law of election and reprobation in the room of the Passover, and He at the same time fully vindicates that of the responsibility of man, even of the man Judas who eats bread with Him at the same table. Yes, it is precisely his responsibility which Jesus respects.

For, while Jesus is seated at the table, He appeals to Judas’ sense of responsibility. Jesus lets His penetrating searchlight play upon Judas in a final attempt to evoke a self-disclosure. How often Jesus had invited, constrained, almost compelled Judas to fall on his knees before Him and to confess everything to this Lord! Repeatedly Jesus used every possible means to recall from the somber depths of the disciple’s soul those things which he had suppressed into his unconscious life.

If Judas had responded to that invitation, he would thereby have proved that his perverse will had been broken already. Then the Spirit of Christ would have “entered into” the soul of Judas triumphantly “after the sop.” And upon that basis good would have overcome evil in Judas.

But Judas kept still. He locked himself inside his own being. He moped in secret.

The chicken was invited under the wings of the hen but it would not.

Both are in the room of the Passover. The sacrament has been prepared. Centuries look on. Spiritual demons are in the air; the angels of God are watching. But one influence is more potent than that of demon and angel, the influence of Jesus’ soul. By means of this influence Jesus lets Judas burn once more in the white-hot flame of his own smoldering passions. You ask how Jesus achieves that, how Jesus constrains Judas to walk through the flames he himself has set afire? The answer is: by letting His will, moved by God, enter into that of Judas, and by fixing His searching eyes upon those of Judas.

In spite of the pressure, Judas still chooses to ally himself with Satan.

The measure is full. Trembling in its august presence, Jesus acknowledges the law of personal responsibility, respects it even in Judas. He abandons him, yields him to Satan. What thou doest, he says, do quickly.

This matter is a profound revelation of the essence of the Man of sorrows. At the same time in which He fairly constrains Satan to come into the room of the Passover and virtually compels him to construct the frame of the cross, He assumes the double law of election and reprobation, on the one hand, and that of human responsibility, on the other.

This event is not an isolated or peculiar incident. Soon Christ will be hanged between two murderers. He will be sensitively aware then that one is the object of eternal election, the other of reprobation. Just so the soul of Jesus now experiences that double law in reference to His apostles. As He looks into Judas’ eyes He lives with him the drama of his reprobation and responsibility; simultaneously He experiences the drama of election and responsibility of those others lying at the Table, chosen vessels to tell His honor, who will presently see their names written in the foundations of the heavenly city.

This synthetic, this comprehensive awareness in every indivisible second, this uncoerced and broad perspective is the justification of Jesus as man before God. It is also His human vindication before God in reference to Judas. For Judas suppresses so very much: his base passions first, because such inhibition profits him; his better aspirations then, because that profits him. But Jesus suppresses nothing. At the beginning Judas suppressed election (“your names are written in heaven!”) in favor of responsibility (“He casts out devils!”). Now he suppresses the concept of responsibility in face of a false, Judaistic notion of election (God’s appointment of Israel as a fleshly people of Abraham: — hence Jesus must die) . But Jesus suppresses nothing, inhibits nothing. Each moment of His stay with this small group of disciples in the house of the Passover He is simultaneously aware of election and reprobation and of the human responsibility of each to God.

This sensitive and comprehensive awareness imparts a profounder tone to His words: Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. Moreover, a consideration of these facts also compels us to give closer attention to that other statement, that of the high-priestly prayer, in which Jesus acknowledges that those whom He has chosen are the same as they whom the Father has given Him.

In the expression “I have chosen you” Jesus is the subject of the electing; He Himself does the choosing; He rises and falls by an act of His own will, by a self-expression. And because He does the choosing Himself He influences all, including Judas; He brings the whole weight of His human soul to bear upon Judas, and upon the other disciples. He exercises the full force of His ethos upon them. “Have I not chosen you twelve for the work, twelve elect, to assist me, to stand at the fire?”

But in the expression, acknowledging that they whom Jesus chooses have been given Him by the Father, Christ is the object of the election. As man, therefore, according to its import, Jesus must accept what is given to Him. He is completely subservient to the one Will which moves the earth, effects God’s pleasure, and brooks no interference. In its presence all must be silent. Even the Son of man must be still. If Judas is not among those given Him, Jesus cannot receive him. Jesus can do His duty to the disciple as long as there is breath in Him, it is true. He can bring the full force of His sinless, dynamic, beautiful personality to bear upon him. He can always welcome him warmly, let him bathe in the blessed sunlight of His own perfect, patient spirit, but, unless Judas has been given Him by the Father, Jesus can only effect a suppression, and never the needful conversion. He cannot because of Judas’ unbelief.

So much for Judas. But when we try to relate the austere mystery of the laws of election and reprobation and that other law of responsibility to Christ Himself, the significance of the issue in the hall of the Passover penetrates our hearts and lives with a constricting vehemence. Both of these laws confront Christ simultaneously. He senses the minutest implication of both. Yes, He sees both represented in the twelve who are with Him. He is aware of the force of both laws especially in Himself. He senses it and knows that God is awful.

As man, He knows He is a servant, and subject to that one law of election and reprobation. If He did not know this He could not bear to sit in the same room with Simon Barjona and with Judas, could not eat the same lamb as these, nor breathe the same air. But He can bear to do so. He can, because His conscience is faithful to God. He, by especial appointment, is the Elect of God, the Chosen above all others, the appointed Head of the covenant of grace. How profoundly and how intensely He feels that fact! Now, in this room, and at this hour His thoughts go back to the prophets, to each, to all, to Moses, to Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Shem, Noah, Enoch, Abel, and Adam. He is very certain, humanly He is very sure, that He is the Head, the appointed Head of the covenant of grace. He knows . . . for He has seen Judas, and behind Judas, God.

That is a part of it. But there is another side to the matter. He is aware of His responsibility. He has seen Judas, and behind Judas, God. He knows that He is responsible to the highest degree. For He has seen Judas and He has seen Simon Barjona and both are an obligation to Him. Yes, God stood behind Judas. But He stood behind Simon, too. God stood behind Simon as Lord, and as Lord He pleaded for him. No, the Lord — a friend talks with a friend; think of Abraham and Moses — talks with Jesus now, and tells Him to plead for Simon.

Simon, Simon, I have prayed for thee. Alas, Judas, I could not, I simply could not plead for thee. I could not because of unbelief. You harbored unbelief. You still embrace it. But Simon — in him grace dwells. Grace means election. Election, grace, comes in the form of a covenant. And a covenant always means responsibility. Sacred responsibility.

Entering the community of all the prophets, of Moses, of Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham, of Shem and Noah, of Enoch, Abel, and Adam, Jesus Christ swears that He is responsible to God, that He is the responsible Mediator of the covenant of grace.

Election and responsibility; O God, O God!

Election, chosen Head of the covenant of grace!

Responsibility! Responsible Mediator of that covenant!


Yes, Father, such was Thy good pleasure. The best I can do for Judas is to stimulate “suppression.” For him I can at best be mere man, be a certain Jesus, a civilizing influence. To the extent that I am a Mediator, my office can only aggravate his condemnation. But — should I demur to sing psalms for Thee on that account, Lord my God? The angels praise Thee, the apostles, all the hosts of heaven praise Thee, O God, Thou who dost elect some and they come, who, as is illustrated by the best effects of a purely human influence dost cause others to suppress, to flee. Lord, my God, Judas is here. He must go now, for I must celebrate the Passover, and eat the supper, and break the bread . . . Lord, I am Thy Chosen One, am one with all Thy elect, and that is burdensome knowledge; it weighs very heavily. The prophets spake of “pressing” issues. They spake of Me. See how I am driven till all be fulfilled, till I can see behind the clouds. It is hazy here; no, it is awfully dark here in this hour with Simon and with Judas; O God, it is so very dark. Dwellest Thou in darkness? Yes, Solomon knew it. God dwells in darkness and is One who must choose, must select, reject. Yes, God of Abraham, Thou who didst accept Isaac and reject Ishmael — and who didst appoint the fortunes of Jacob and Esau before they were born— yes, of course, I stand aside for Thee. I was not interfering, Lord, I simply peered into Judas’ soul, simply let my eyes burn their way into his soul. I did not gainsay Thee. Ah, I know full well that I can do nothing for Judas: it was my fate to be a man, and that was Thy pleasure; it pleased Thee that I should be human. No, I shall not confute the Word pronounced over Jacob and Esau before birth, over Simon, over Judas, and over Me, my God. Father, how beautiful Thou art. Was that sound just now not the song of the angels? Ah, yes, the hymn of praise is there; the book of psalms lies open. Very soon we will sing the ritual and with sincerity of heart. We will sing the hymn of praise for Thee, O God; even though Thou dost elect, we will sing. I shall say that those knives must be put aside. It is enough. Election is just enough. It is so very simple, so inevitable: it is enough.

This only I know, Lord my God, Thou alone doest things. I am a man: man cannot break the walls Thy counsel hath established. Once I could do no more miracles because of their unbelief. I could not, Lord, not then, not at that place. I was very tired. And I cannot do any now. Unbelief is present in the room. Its fumes rise up against the sacrificial lamb. How that hurts. Could I rest, satisfied, here in Thy election and reprobation?

Must not those fumes be removed? Lord, what that man doeth, let him do it quickly. But Thou art holy; Thou dwellest in the praise of Israel. The hymn of praise is read: the knives must be put away.

Judas, Judas, what thou doest, for thou doest it, (I do it, God doth not)—what thou doest, do quickly.

Lord, I can breathe more easily now. Election is a matter of fact because God is. But responsibility is fact also. God must be sought. God is and giveth reward; He giveth Himself to all those that seek Him. Yes, responsibility is real and binding, Lord my God.

Hence, I shall arise and do my work. Do all of it. Away with the knives. I go to address myself to Judas. Save Simon, Lord, sift him as wheat. I have told Judas already; he must go, must do it quickly. I did not ignore Satan. My eyes are open; I have my loins girded; the lamps are burning. I go to meet Satan with full awareness. I bear the lamp of watching in my hands. I see him there; I sense his presence. Thou sayest I must meet him, must confront him squarely. And I do it even now, my Lord. Thou has united me strictly; Thou hast fixed inviolable limits for all men. What can man do to melt the ice encrusting Judas’ soul, to ply the brass that sheathes the souls of others? Lord, my love burns fervently. Flames of the Lord, flames of the Lord! But there are waters they cannot lick up: Judas is Judas still. I could not enflame him, nor set him aglow. I am man, Father; I am man. It is a palpable limitation to be man, to appreciate the need of Simon, of John, of the others — Thou knowest their names. I am bound up with them. Sweet bonds they are that bind me, though they hurt cruelly. But I go to do the work. Samson, Samson, hero of God, chariot of Israel and its horses! I am doing it already, Lord. I come, O God, to do Thy pleasure. I come to work. I have an eager will to achieve, Lord. I wrought with my whole human will and all my human energies upon the soul of Judas. I saw flames enveloping him: we burned in the same fire. Still, I have but the will, Lord, for I am human. Thou hast sovereign jurisdiction, for Thou art God. Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen. I bow, I bow low in acknowledgment. I do the work. This is my body that is broken for many unto a complete propitiation for all of their sins. Broken — that is the word. Something is breaking here. Thou hast ropes which cut cruelly. The purest soul, the soul of perfect virtue cannot break the wall. The ropes of murderers cannot bind as firmly as Thine, My God, Thou who dost elect and condemn!

But I come. I take the responsibility. Allow these sheep to go, Lord. But I shall call Satan out from the dark. Satan, come. Do quickly what thou doest. Here is Judas, and here, Simon: sift them, sift them as wheat. May God have mercy upon the kernels of grain. Lord, be merciful to Simon. Come, Satan: now is the time.

Here, Judas; it is inevitable. God says so. God is standing right there. It is very light in the room now. A fire is burning. Judas, take it, take this sop. Go now: what thou doest, do quickly....

No! No, of course not. Such was not His experience. It is difficult to think about Jesus Christ. But this there was in that experience, we may be sure: the burning of election, the fire of responsibility; the synthetic comprehensiveness: a relating of those twelve — with a gulf dividing them — to Himself, and a reference of all of them and. of everything to God.

So much was in His experience. I believe that because I believe that Jesus was very man and just man. A Man of sorrows He was, stricken of God, but maintaining His poise as though seeing the Unseen. I believe this because the Scriptures exist and set me thinking. Is this a haughtiness? Yes, it is audacious to think about Jesus Christ. It also is haughtiness not to think about Him and nevertheless to pray tonight. To pronounce the name of God, that is haughty too. And I know that some such experience was His the night He was betrayed.

He was the Elect, the Responsible One.

He was the Chosen Head of the Covenant of Grace.

The Responsible Mediator of that Covenant.

And on a night in time, on a street in Jerusalem, where not long before a chauffeur cursed, a rooster crowed, a Mussulman yawned, and a woman yielded—it happened. God in the flesh, in typical human flesh. He looked out of human eyes. I was taught that this is called: revelation. God came into the flesh. Alas for me if I do not believe it, if I am not active in it.

Jesus goes out now. Close your eyes, people, but open your hearts. The Head and Mediator of the covenant of grace is here. He comes, He seeks. He is looking for the elect, searching for the host of prophets and apostles and for the cloud of witnesses which must still come. He comes to catch us up into life. See that He comes to take me up, for promises are resting upon me. He comes. His eyes are opened wide. He sees clearly, and is alert. He comes to snatch me from Satan’s claw.

His eyes are open, yes. I see Him stepping over Judas’ dead body to reach me. He does not ignore the corpse of Judas nor does he sidestep it. He does not push it aside. It is as Isaiah said, when at the close, I suspect, he could go no further: “They shall look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me.” So Jesus comes over the body of the stricken Judas to say He has a promise for me. For He must come to me.

O God, do not let Him, and with that same thorough-going authenticity, stride over my dead body and my dead soul . . O God, be merciful to me, a sinner. For He blinks at nothing, suppresses nothing. My secret self, my Judas-heart is an open book to Him when He comes. O God, how painful is salvation?

How plainly we can see from the experiences of Judas that Christ cannot be satisfied when a person lets Jesus enter his personality only as an ideal man, as a preacher of a noble ideal, as an idealization of our own base instincts. For all these supposed features Judas loved Jesus at one time. In those forms Jesus actually entered the disciple’s soul, and as such “suppressed” much that was impure and sinful there.

But Christ vindicated Himself in Judas, and that in holy wrath as a Mediator. He wants vindication as nothing other than as that. He is not satisfied with being merely “a man.” For, as a man, He was appointed by the Father to be the Mediator. That means that because He is Mediator He is Man.

That is the one thing that matters. A solemn proverb tells us: all or nothing. And although we are glad to admit that the superficial side of Jesus achieves much good in the world and inhibits much evil, we must maintain and protest, confronted by the inner mortality of Judas, that Christ Jesus requires vindication in us only as Mediator. He may not, because of the Father He may not desire anything less.

Because Thou has done this, hast wanted to be solely a Mediator in the room of the Passover, Thou couldst institute the Lord’s Supper there; therefore, too, I am able to say: My Lord and my God.

We are raising these matters for consideration because of a specific reason. By means of them we can get some slight appreciation of the Saviour’s human soul, of His Mediatorship as He actually experienced it in His flesh, and also of the way in which the life and time of Jesus is parallel to those of God’s eternity.

We may not look at Jesus and at Judas, at the room of the Passover, at the hardening, the conversion in a fragmentary, piecemeal manner. For that is not seeing them the way Christ saw. What we have said thus far can be epitomized in this way: Jesus suppresses nothing within Himself. He does not scrutinize one part of the whole thoroughly and the rest superficially. He never sees things granularly; He under-emphasizes nothing. Therefore the Christ who includes in one glance the full round of God’s election and reprobation has a right to demand that we see the room of the Passover as a smithy in which the anvil is being struck by God, in which the hammer is propelled by the powers of eternity.

To look at Judas, and especially at his tragical end, first, and then uncritically to leap to the concept of the election and reprobation of God is to fail to appreciate the issue, for then these two will always stand in irreconcilable opposition to each other. But when we pause to see Jesus and Judas’ walking together, wrestling with each other, exchanging influences each moment, each hour, each year of their association with each other, and when we see the conflict between them increasing in vehemence, and then relate the experience to election and reprobation, and responsibility—then we can appreciate that these two, the eternal Decree and the experience of life in time, are one.

Then Christ stands behind everyone who reads these lines, whispering articulately into his ear: What thou doest, do quickly. In the essence of the matter, son of man, you are doing but one thing: by faith you are doing the work of God, or by indulging sin you are doing the work of Satan. But what you do, do quickly.

If those words really reach us, the Mediator has spoken to us. In that moment He comes to effectuate in us the conflict which he wrestles with us all His life, and tries to spare us a foolish flight from His awesome actuality. Very often He pronounces those words and every time He does so He drives the process in us farther.

One day He will pronounce them a last time. Then the culmination for us will have come; we will be ready for death or for life. Hence there is but one pertinent question: Are you one who fears Him or one who does not fear Him?

If we want to ward off the Christ in our deepest being, then He, His whole soul and every desire, clings closely to God when God rejects us justly. That is the case, not because Christ loves our condemnation, but because He loves God, also the God who judges.

Therefore, it is an awesome truth to know that Jesus never delivers piecework to God; that He suppresses nothing; that He drives all to its organic conclusion. His whole soul spoke when He said to Judas: What thou doest, do quickly. With those words the conflict of Judas’ soul with that of Jesus had an end. That word was the beginning of another, a word which Jesus spoke from the Cross: It is finished. May each of us fear lest that cry of triumph some day be the Father’s recognition that Christ has done wrestling with His Spirit in us and that nothing more can be done for us.

Fortunately we can also state it the other way. If Christ is one and undivided in wrath, He is also that in the work of Love; if He suppresses nothing in reprobation, He suppresses nothing in the adoption unto children.

That is great comfort for us. Just as His whole soul participated in the relinquishment of Judas, without a hint of division between His conscious and unconscious life, so too the fullness of His unified soul pours itself into the prayer which He as a High-priest sends to the Father from the room of the Passover.

That prayer, which the profound apostle John included in his account of the Gospel, takes on greater significance for us when we consider that Jesus is different from Judas, different from the other disciples who are of the elect.

Judas suppresses Jesus: he crowds Him out; the better insight, the call to confession, these he suppresses. And the apostles and believers, even when they are born again, continue to suppress a great deal, because they are not yet perfect in love and do not yet live fully in and by conversion.

But Jesus suppresses nothing in His soul. He cannot crowd into the background anything which He finds there. His entire soul, therefore, one undivided as it is, is fully brought to bear upon every predication of the high priest’s petitions. His complete personality fully informs every comfort His mouth utters. Hence He goes steadfastly to the cross, not demurring. That cross which confronts Judas and Simon Barjona, which faces all things beautiful and ugly, He accepts with His heart, with all His soul, with all His mind and with all His strength. With each and with all of these He desires God in the cross. And just as He drives Judas out before Him, without in any way ignoring him, so He drives the soul and body, the full humanity of Peter, James, John, and all the little sheep of His flock ahead of Him. He dies the death in an awe-inspiring love, which has a vivid sense of the justice of wrath, of the necessity of the dread decree. He believes God is One, and He trembles.

Was the comforting of a human soul ever so humiliating, so disarming and, conversely, was the humiliation and discountenancing of God’s brilliant light ever so comforting?

We should, however, be losing sight of the dominant purpose of this book if we were to conclude this treatise so.

The conflict which obtains in this experience is at bottom not an issue between the soul of the Mediator, Jesus, and the soul of Judas, but is the struggle between Christ as the Word made flesh and Satan.

We must return for a moment to the point at which we began. Whoever thinks the word “Satan” thinks the concept “suppression.” That is not mere word-play. It is beyond question that the somber spirit of Satan is not susceptible to the same psychological complications as is the soul of a human being. In human life an antithesis appears between the conscious and unconscious life. Somewhere in the human mind a threshold has been fixed; above it the conscious life operates; below it those passions lower which even the person himself does not know.

Not so in Satan. In him, too, all is conscious. He sins in full awareness of himself. His are not the laws of human nature; he has not the fickle, vacillating passions of man. He is a Spirit of eternity. In any given moment he can name precisely what is active within him. In every second of his sinister business he sees below the work he is doing the image of the beginning of his existence when he lived with God and as a created spirit praised Him.

Hence in Satan suppression cannot be similar in kind to that which took place in Judas. When we call Satan the great Suppressor, in spite of that, we mean that he is in every moment of his existence pushing God away from him, God, and justice, and right. Satan knows God better than any man. He cannot, however, suppress God into the subconscious life, for he has none. But by means of his will he is always attempting to push God out of his being. However, in the atmosphere of eternity, the desire counts as the deed: in magnis voluisse sat est.

In that way Satan, by very definition, is the great Suppressor. He suppresses God. He knows He cannot succeed but he persists in the attempt. He knows he cannot circumvent the judgment but every energy of each moment of his life goes into the effort to escape that wrath. Not that he attempts to forget and ignore as men often do. This great Suppressor attempts always to throw off what he refuses to acknowledge, not what he refuses to consider. Hence the Scriptures say of him that he trembles (Jas_2:19). That trembling is symptomatic of the strained passion, the perpetual restlessness, the relentless striving of the satanic essence.

Now look at Jesus in the Passover room. We know there are two in the room. Jesus is there. Judas and Satan are there, and they are one. Judas suppresses and trembles, Satan suppresses, and he trembles. But a third person is present, and He is really the First. He is Jesus Christ. He suppresses nothing, He knows everything, and He wills all He knows as God’s truth—and He also trembles. He, however, trembles only before God. Judas trembles because his own passions perturb him. He creates his own restlessness; he is divided against himself; how can he possibly continue to exist? Satan trembles because God is against him and because he is against God: these two are divided against each other. Together they cannot stand. And Satan would not fear if only God were divided against himself: but God is one (Jas_2:19). Satan trembles because God is not as Satan wishes Him to be. God therefore plants the fire in Satan’s spirit. My Lord Jesus Christ also trembles. Is He, too, in a state of self-contradiction? No, on that count He can continue to exist. Is He divided against God? Again, on that score He is free. But Christ trembles because God is divided against Him, because He bears the curse of God in Him.

Even so He will embrace His God. He will desire God and that not blindly. No, no, Christ does not tremble, for, although God is against Him, God, Satan, Judas, Simon, and my soul will never induce Him to rebel against God. He suppresses nothing, and so He gains the great victory. No, in a sense, Christ does not tremble.

And see. Brace yourself firmly as you look. Deliberately, with poise, He raises His hand, extends the bread, speaks the word, relinquishes Satan, lives a millennium in a moment, dispatches Judas, meets His Father, passes God’s sentence upon His accusers, takes up the cross, and dies the death, and at the conclusion of all: Father, into Thy hands I commend my Spirit.

This is sublime and very praiseworthy. Christ Jesus stands between Judas who suppresses, and Satan, the patron of all those who suppress. He is related to Judas. He has much in common with Satan. But He stands opposed to both in holiness, and in this He vanquishes them eternally.

We said that Christ was related to Judas. That is true. He shared with Judas His humanity, His activity, His growth, His progress in learning, His susceptibility to being tempted and to being proved. But Christ, in contrast to Judas, manifests a perfect obedience. Hence, although He shares His humanity with His disciples, His holiness sets Him apart from Judas’ sin. Thus He conquers Satan who tries to make use of Judas in an effort to tempt Christ to do evil.

Christ has also some characteristics in common with Satan. For He, the Word of God, the Son of eternity, the Logos, is one with Satan in this that He sees all that is happening in the present in indissoluble relationship with all that has occurred in the past, and in doing it, relates all to what will happen in the future.

But Christ stands in opposition to Satan in that He desires God with a perfect holiness and invites God to Himself perfectly.

Thus it happens that this human soul, though it must live and learn and develop with Judas, nevertheless cannot expel God from itself for a second. Could God care to push God aside? The world could more easily pass away. Bow, then, and worship: Jesus Christ desires God, His soul longs for God. He will seek God early in the morning, will seek Him at dawn, when the cock crows; on that morning, too, when at the cock-crow, Judas destroys himself, and on that other dawn when Satan curses God as never before, and very sensitively aware of what He is doing, constantly wills to ward Him off.

And in this opposition of Jesus, who, as man, is both sensitive and poised, to Satan, the suppressor par excellence, Christ in every indivisible moment of His existence completely conquers Satan. Now Christ by the much more magnetic attraction of His soul, and by the irresistible lure of the active energy emanating from His life can charm Satan out of the secret comer in which he is lurking and beckon him to come to the table where He is eating bread, to His breast, and to His holy heart, and then can break out into psalms to God.

It sounds paradoxical but we set it down as significant truth: precisely because Christ can in any instant attract God to Himself with His whole personality He can so invite Satan to come to Him. Not because He desires Satan but because He loves God perfectly. And if God’s clock can strike the hours only for the power of darkness, Jesus will move the pendulum of that clock of time with His own fingers. He winds the world-timepiece with His own hands. He calls Satan into the open, and says to him, suppressing nothing He needs to know out of His consciousness: This is thy hour and that of the power of darkness; what thou doest, do quickly.

If Christ had called Satan to Him without simultaneously beckoning God to Himself with a passion of perfect longing, His act would have been one of sheer haughtiness. He would have been rejected from God’s presence as one who essayed to play with demons while riding a tornado of the wrath of God. We would have perished with Him.

And conversely, of course: if Christ had desired God alone, if He, raising the false prophecy of a God an sich to the plane of truth, had not beckoned Satan to Him, now that the time was fulfilled, His soul would not have responded purely to the dispensation of God’s occasion and to the circumstances which God’s counsel had appointed beforehand. Then the clock of Christ’s human conscience would not have been regulated according to the sun of the counsel of God. Then the pressure of the atmosphere bearing down upon His soul would have been different from that obtaining in the heaven of God’s counsel, in the sphere of God’s law and Gospel.

But now that Christ beckons both God and Satan unto Himself, Christ with a perfect love and Satan with complete aversion, but both with perfect awareness, now the Saviour manifests Himself. This is He who can pray what actually was prayed in Gethsemane, who suffered an eternity in time. This is He who, although He is given but a square foot of ground on which to stand, sees all powers, those on earth and those in heaven, simultaneously; He sees all included within its meridian. This is He who buoys the great All up in His strong arms, in obedience and in virtue, as a Mediator of justice and redemption.

Thus we see Jesus standing.

The disciples suppress the old nature with the new, and the new with the lingering effects of the old.

Judas suppresses the better aspirations possible by common grace, a possibility in which Jesus’ influence also assists, by the deeper passion of pride. He cannot, does not want to redeem or be redeemed.

Satan by his own will suppresses whatever he knows and exerts himself feverishly to oppose and hamper redemption. He suppresses the truth of the impossibility of victory by the seed of the serpent over the seed of the woman.

But Christ suppresses nothing and no one. He assigns everything to its place and leaves it there. He sees nothing an sich. Everything is related in strict organic relationship for Him: Christ and Antichrist, heaven and hell, God and Satan, Judas and —dare I say it—Judas and I, if I believe. So did the Saviour from moment to passing moment, conform Himself perfectly to God, who knows Himself perfectly (for the Spirit proves all things); to God, who knows the world perfectly also and all that is in it (for the Spirit is also called the Seven Times of God, running through the world). Since God and Christ are one now in ignoring nothing, suppressing nothing, Christ is proved the Saviour and Mediator of God and man.

Our poor souls may sometimes suppress the promise, but always it will arise again to protest: I love God, for He hears my voice: He will not forget me, nor suppress me in all eternity.

Christ, confronting the volume of wrath and the gateway to heaven, suppressing never—that is comfort. It is that which was impossible to man. That is God in the flesh. Now the Sabbath bell began to sound over a world lost in guilt.

Death too grasped the rope and began tolling, tolling . . .