FIVE CRUCIAL POINTS OF CHRIST’S WORK
In this message we want to go on and look further at how all-inclusive and unlimited He is in His work, that is, in His doings, actions, and moves. Of course, if a man is great, His actions will also be great. Since our Lord is all-inclusive and unlimited, His work surely is also all-inclusive and unlimited.
Concerning Christ, the New Testament mostly speaks of His work, which is simply His living. His living was mingled with His work. He had no office hours or off hours. He lived and He worked twenty-four hours a day. His every word and every move were His living, and His every word and every move were also His work. The Bible, especially the New Testament, uses only very simple words and brief records when referring to His person. However, the Bible speaks about His work, His move, His doings, and His words and deeds, which all constitute His living, in a rich and detailed way in chapter after chapter. From the record in these many chapters, we have extracted five crucial points concerning His actions and work: being incarnated, passing through human living, dying for the creation, resurrecting from the dead, and ascending to the heavens.
Let us now consider these five crucial points. Being incarnated does not sound like proper Chinese or any foreign language; this is truly the heavenly language. Passing through human living is somewhat ordinary, for we all must pass through human living. However, the next item, dying for the creation, is very extraordinary because this dying is not only for man but for everything that was created. Who can die for others? One may die for a companion out of kindness, righteousness, or love, but no one can die for the creation, that is, for the heavens, the earth, everyone, and everything. This is not only great but also all-inclusive. When a man dies, he himself dies. However, the death of Jesus Christ was an exceptional death, a death in which the heavens and the earth died with Him, all things were baptized with Him, and you and I were terminated with Him. Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20). Christ’s crucifixion included you and me. Paul also said, “Our old man has been crucified with Him” (Rom. 6:6). When Christ died on the cross, it was not only one single Nazarene, Jesus, who died there. His death included the heavens, the earth, and everything so that you and I, we all, died together with Him.
Humanly speaking, when someone dies, he is finished because to die is to be ended. The biographies of great men always conclude with their death or burial. When Jesus died, the Jews may have shouted with joy, thinking that they had eliminated Him. When they were accusing the Lord Jesus, they shouted, “Take this man away! Crucify Him!” Eventually, they achieved their purpose—they crucified Him on the cross and did away with Him. Little did they know that less than seventy-two hours later, this Jesus would walk out of death with vigorous steps. Strictly speaking, He did not go to die. He went to have a tour of the domain of death, and after He had accomplished great things in Hades, He walked out from there and resurrected. This is called His resurrection from the dead. All this was His work.
After His resurrection He stayed with the disciples for forty days to train them to experience His invisible presence. The three and a half years of His presence with the disciples was visible, which they truly enjoyed. After His crucifixion, that presence suddenly disappeared, and they became despondent to the uttermost. However, in less than seventy-two hours, He suddenly came back. In His resurrection, He was transfigured into the all-inclusive Spirit to be with them for eternity. This kind of presence, which was invisible and in spirit, was hard for the disciples to adjust to. Therefore, in those forty days, He sometimes appeared to the disciples and sometimes disappeared in front of them. In this way He trained them to experience His invisible presence.
Forty days after His resurrection, He ascended to the heavens. His ascension was also His work. On the one hand, He is resting in the heavens because He is sitting down on His throne. However, on the other hand, the Bible tells us that today in the heavens He is our High Priest, our Mediator, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. He is the Administrator in the universe today. If we know world history, we can see that in the past twenty centuries, from Christ’s ascension up to this day, everything on this earth has been under the ruling authority of Jesus Christ. The Gregorian calendar used by the whole world today is Jesus Christ’s calendar. According to world history, whosever calendar you use means you belong to that one. Today on earth, even those nations which oppose Christ use the calendar of our Lord. This proves that Jesus Christ is the real Lord. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Today He sits on the throne, exercising His authority to rule over all the situations on earth that He may produce what He has desired to obtain throughout the generations, which is the Body, the church, planned by God in eternity.
(The All-Inclusiveness and Unlimitedness of Christ, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)