”Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village (do not forget that villages represent local assemblies): and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.” Luke 10:38
Now here, in this first mention of Bethany, which in principle represents that Church, and that assembly, and that house, which the Lord has His heart set upon, and I fasten at once upon one word: “And a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.” The word “received” is the key-word to this whole thing, and it represents immediately a great difference. It is a discriminating word, a differentiating word.
His assembly, His spiritual house, is the place where He is gladly received and finds His rest. It is His place, His place in a world which rejects Him; it is the place where He is recognized. Do you notice that when assemblies are being scattered over the face of the earth it is always that which is the beginning of an assembly (the ones who receive His word)? They “receive” the word. Pentecost was that. “Then they that received his word…” (Acts 2:41) At Philippi, ”a certain woman named Lydia… besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there” (Acts 16:14,15). That is the beginning of the assembly it is like that everywhere. It is a spiritual perception issuing in an open-hearted reception. That is the first thing which befeatures His Church: “received”. It is the giving Him a place, the place of honour.
Now that is very simple, but it represents much to the Lord, and it carries us a long way, because it represents something more than the Lord coming just to be a sojourner in the midst. It represents that the Lord has got a footing, a foothold, a place which provides Him with that which is necessary to Him to secure all His rights universally. And that is why the Lord would have His Church here in assemblies, local assemblies, over the face of the earth. They are testimonies to His rights, in a world where those rights are disputed and disowned; and they stand there to say: When He comes back, they are to be the means, the instrument, of His recovery of those rights which have been disputed and from which He has been driven out. There is a good deal bound up with receiving the Lord. He is coming back to His own because He is already there in possession.
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