DEATH, RESURRECTION, MULTIPLICATION, AND GLORIFICATION
In previous messages we pointed out that the Lord’s death was for His multiplication. To Him, death was not a termination; it was a multiplication. This means that for the Lord death was not an ending; rather, it was a new beginning. Apart from death, how could He have entered into resurrection? First there is death and then resurrection.
In 12:24 the Lord indicated that He as a grain of wheat would fall into the ground and die and then grow up to produce many grains. This is multiplication. Praise the Lord that after passing through the process of death described in chapters eighteen and nineteen, the Lord grew up in resurrection with His multiplication!
The Lord’s multiplication consists of His brothers. This was the reason the Lord told Mary Magdalene to go to His brothers (20:17). This means that through the Lord’s death and resurrection, the Lord’s timid disciples became His brothers.
We know that Peter took the lead to be timid. Peter denied that he was one of the Lord’s disciples: “Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said then to him, Are you not also one of his disciples? He denied and said, I am not” (18:25). Peter certainly was timid. It seems that neither he nor the other disciples were worthy to be disciples, much less brothers of the Lord. Nevertheless, on the day of Christ’s resurrection, timid Simon Peter became a brother of the resurrected Christ.
It was the resurrected Christ who told Mary to go to His brothers. The Lord’s brothers are His multiplication, the result of His wonderful death. The Lord died as a grain of wheat, and in resurrection the result was that many grains were produced. Praise the Lord that all His disciples became His brothers in resurrection! This is the multiplication of the crucified Jesus and the resurrected Christ.
This multiplication is the glorification concerning which the Lord Jesus prayed in John 17. Before He died, the Lord prayed that the Father would glorify the Son. Then in a short period of time, perhaps less than forty hours, this prayer was answered when in resurrection the Lord was multiplied and glorified.
Let us now go on to consider the signs in chapter twenty of the Gospel of John.
THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK
The first of the signs in John 20 is that of the first day of the week. Verse 1 says, “Now on the first day of the week, Mary the Magdalene came early to the tomb while it was yet dark, and saw the stone taken away from the tomb.” It is significant that the Lord was resurrected not on the last day of the week, but on the first day of the week. This day denotes a new beginning. In the Bible the first day of the week is also called the eighth day. After a week of seven days, we have the eighth day, which is the first day of the week. The Lord died during one week, and He was resurrected at the start of another week. Therefore, the first day of the week is a sign.
John 20 speaks of both the first day of the week and the eighth day (v. 26). We have seen that the first day is also called the eighth day. The first mention of the eighth day in the Scriptures is related to the circumcision of the children of Israel. God commanded them to be circumcised on the eighth day (Gen. 17:12). According to John 20, the second Lord’s Day after His resurrection was the eighth day.
The sign of the first day of the week indicates that the entire universe has a new beginning in Christ’s resurrection. His resurrection ushered in a new period, a new age. In the sight of God, the entire old creation was crucified with Christ and buried with Him. Then on the first day of the week there was a new beginning with Christ’s resurrection.
Whereas the Lord’s death was a termination of the old creation, His resurrection was the germination of the new creation. For this reason, instead of keeping the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, we meet on the Lord’s Day, which is the first day of the week. This means that in resurrection we are in the eighth day, or the first day of the week. Elsewhere, the New Testament calls the first day of the week the Lord’s day (Rev. 1:10), for it was on this day that the Lord Jesus was resurrected to become the living Lord and to usher in a new beginning in resurrection.
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 59, by Witness Lee)