"I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do" (Jn 17.4). Does this tremendous statement refer to the Saviours perfect life lived prior to Calvary, or does it encompass His life and work in entirety - including Calvary?
I am sure that this statement in the prayer of our Lord Jesus most certainly would include His life and public ministry prior to His death on the cross. Was not the purging of the temple, the preaching of the kingdom, and the healing of the sick the work of His Father? Did He not say Himself, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (Jn 5.17)? He worked the works of God in the midst of Israel, but is not the answer to the question found in the Lords previous statement in the same verse, "I have glorified thee on the earth". This phrase "on the earth" must of necessity include the whole path and period of Christs life even to His death, resurrection appearances, and ascension. Throughout all this time the Lord as the Son glorified the Father. In John 17 the prayer of the Lord is anticipative of Calvary and indeed looks beyond the cross to the work of salvation accomplished and the victory gained. The Lord speaks in the past tense as if the work referred to was an historical fact that had already occurred. From the divine point of view it was as good as done. What a thought this is and how it shows the confidence of the Lord Jesus to accomplish the work given Him.
I might add that the work of the Father given for the Son to complete must not be thought only to embrace the work of salvation. While this is fundamental it is easy for believers to limit it to this. Much more, of course, was accomplished by the Lord at Calvary. It was the beginning of the end of every foe. The prophetic Scriptures regarding His death were fulfilled. The Jewish sacrifices were finished and the religious system of Judaism was finished too. These are but some of the great things that were accomplished on the cross. They are wonderful Christian truths and should be rejoiced in.
John J Stubbs
Does the head covering of the sisters need to cover the head completely, as would be done by a scarf, or is it sufficient to have a head covering that is smaller, possibly covering only a small part of the head?
The first half of 1 Corinthians 11 (vv.1-16) deals with the truth of headship and takes us back to creation, whilst the second half of the chapter (vv.17-34) is concerned with lordship and goes back to redemption.
The question is presumably concerned with the head covering of the woman in the gatherings of the Lords people. Some have suggested that the covering is her long hair by reference to the statement, "for her hair is given her for a covering" (v.15). However, v.6 of the chapter gives the lie to this line of this line of teaching since, if the womans hair is the covering, the verse would read, "If the woman have no hair, let her cut her hair"!
When the man has his head covered, he brings dishonour to his Head (i.e. Christ see v.3), whilst if the woman has her head uncovered, she brings dishonour to her head (the man, again v.3).
These injunctions were neither Jewish, which required men to be veiled in prayer, nor Greek, by which both men and women were alike unveiled. Pauls instructions were "the commandments of the Lord" (1 Cor 14.37).
The strips or wisps of material which were once in fashion in the UK and were made to do service for a covering, almost suggest a reluctance on the part of the woman to yield full acknowledgement to the authority of Pauls writings and to give whole-hearted obedience to the Word of God; it also betrays a lack of spiritual understanding.
It is interesting to observe that the RV rendering of 1 Corinthians 11.6 is "if a woman is not veiled". Thus it would be far better if a sister came to a meeting with a proper veil to drape over her head and this, not to avoid offending the brethren, but with the higher motive of pleasing the Lord.
David E West