Christ in His Excellency, by Witness Lee


Before Paul was saved, his name was Saul, and he was zealous for the Jewish religion. Acts 9:1-2 says, “But Saul, still breathing threatening and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked for letters from him to Damascus for the synagogues, so that if he found any who were of the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” He was not only zealous for religion, but even more, he was carrying out the orders of the religious leaders to arrest anyone who called on the name of the Lord. However, as he was on the road to Damascus, the Lord Jesus came, and a light from heaven flashed around him. Then he fell to the ground and received revelation. After this incident, he understood that the entire Old Testament spoke of this Jesus whom he had persecuted. He began to know Christ and went on further to appreciate Christ. Thus, he was able to write the book of Philippians, telling people that he had once been zealous in the Jewish religion. As to zeal, he persecuted the church with the intention to completely eliminate the church; as to the righteousness which is in the law, he became blameless. But the things which had been gains to him, these he now counted as loss on account of Christ (Phil. 3:6-7). In the past, he did not have Christ, so he practiced the righteousness which is in the law and considered it a gain, but now he counted it as loss on account of Christ. This is because Christ is far superior to religion and the law.

In January and February of 1937, I went from Shanghai, passing through Hangchow, to Nanking to hold a gospel conference. During that conference, a group of highly educated people came to hear the gospel. One of them was a very modern lady who listened with complete attention to the gospel that I was preaching. After one evening meeting, she came up to the front to see me and said, “Mr. Lee, what you have preached in these past few evenings has touched me very much; I am willing to believe. But I would like to ask you if I can do a certain thing after I have believed in the Lord. If I can do it, then I will certainly believe the gospel which you preach. My believing is totally dependent on your answer to this question.” Then she continued, “After believing in the Lord, I will be able to give up anything, but there is one thing that will be very difficult for me to give up. I like to go to the opera. From my youth I went to the opera with my father, and I have become addicted to it. I can give up breathing, but if I cannot go to the opera, then I’ll not be able to live. My husband has also been influenced by me. Now that I have heard you speak about Jesus, you have really persuaded me and made me very willing to believe. But if I believe in the Lord Jesus and cannot go to the opera, what will I do? If you say that I cannot go, then I will not believe. If you say that I can go, then I will believe.” This question was certainly a hard one to answer. It so happened that by her side she had a three- or four-year-old child, and the Lord gave me wisdom to answer. I said, “Madam, all children like to play with knives. If your child was playing with a sharp knife and was about to have an accident, what would you do? Would you grab the knife away from him?” She was very clever and immediately thought of the chocolate candy which was so famous in Shanghai and Nanking at that time, so she said, “That is easy; I would scatter pieces of chocolate candy all over the floor, then the child would go to pick up the candy, and in the end he would not want the knife.” I said, “Chinese opera is a sharp knife. Without Christ, you have nothing that can satisfy you, so you need to go to the opera. But now I am scattering the pieces of chocolate candy. Do you see? I have lots of ‘chocolate’; this is Christ. Do not ask me if you can go to the opera, but only believe in Christ and see if He satisfies you to the extent that you will not want other things.” She said, “That is very reasonable; I will believe in Him.” Christ is truly far superior to all other things and matters.

(Christ in His Excellency, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)