LABORING ON CHRIST THAT WE MAY HAVE SOMETHING OF CHRIST TO BRING TO GOD
In coming to the tent of meeting, we should not come empty-handed, but we should come with something of Christ. Leviticus 1:2 says, “When anyone of you brings an offering to Jehovah, you shall bring your offering from the cattle, of the herd or of the flock.” Notice the words “brings” and “shall bring.” The Hebrew word for bring here means to bring near, to bring something to someone’s presence. Further, the word implies presenting, offering.
Suppose an Israelite who had inherited a portion of the good land was a loose and lazy person, not tilling the ground or sowing seed and watering. At the time of harvest, such a person would not have anything to reap. As a result, he would not have anything to bring to the feast; he would come empty-handed. Like the foolish virgins in Matthew 25, who wanted to borrow oil from the wise virgins, a lazy Israelite might have tried to borrow or to buy from others something to offer to God.
Today many of the saints are like this. They are loose and lazy and do not labor on Christ, in Christ, with Christ, and for Christ. Paul, however, was different. He said that he strived, struggled (Col. 1:28-29), labored (1 Cor. 15:10), and even fought for Christ. Paul was a busy person; he labored more than all the other apostles, yet it was not he but the grace of God that was with him. Like Paul, we need to labor on Christ that we may have something of Christ to present to God.
Of course, in ourselves and by ourselves we are nothing and we can do nothing. We surely must depend on the rain from the heavens. Suppose the heavens send rain, yet we do not labor. What would happen then? We would reap nothing of Christ, and thus we would have nothing of Christ to bring to God. We need to labor on Christ that we may be able to bring something of Christ to God. This is not a matter of doctrine concerning Christ as the burnt offering but a matter of experience related to offering Christ to God.
The Hebrew word that is translated as “offering” in Leviticus 1:2, the word corban, means a gift or a present. What we bring to the presence of God becomes a gift, a present. If we would have a present for God, we need to labor on Christ and struggle, strive, and fight for Christ. To labor on Christ as the good land is to till the ground, to sow the seed, to water the seed, and to take care of the crop. This is to work, to toil, diligently as a farmer. Second Timothy 2:6 indicates that we are farmers, the most diligent and industrious of people. As farmers, we need to labor on Christ. If we labor on Christ, we shall have something of Christ as the burnt offering to be a present for God.
SLAUGHTERING THE BURNT OFFERING
The way of offering the burnt offering is a demonstration of our experience of Christ; it is a demonstration of how we have experienced Christ’s experience. The way of offering is thus both a demonstration of our experience of Christ’s experience and of how we have experienced Christ’s experience.
“He shall slaughter the young bull before Jehovah” (Lev. 1:5a). This indicates that as the burnt offering Christ was slaughtered. Being slaughtered was Christ’s personal experience when He was on earth. As lovers of Christ who would take Christ as our burnt offering, we need to experience His being slaughtered. Have you ever been slaughtered? Have you ever experienced Christ’s being slaughtered? Have you ever made Christ’s experience of being slaughtered your experience? We need to make Christ’s experience of being slaughtered our experience.
We should have this experience in our married life. Suppose a brother’s wife is very strong and insistent with him. What should he do? Instead of arguing with her, he should experience Christ’s experience of being slaughtered.
Consider the picture presented in the Gospels of the Lord Jesus standing before Pilate, who was about to make the final judgment concerning His crucifixion. The Lord was handed over to evil men who then brought Him to the place of slaughter. In this situation the Lord Jesus did not resist. If we have the real experience of Christ’s being slaughtered, we shall not resist being led to the slaughter by our husband or wife. Instead of resisting, we shall allow our husband or wife to put us on the cross.
If we experience Christ’s being slaughtered, we shall come to the Lord’s table and praise the Lord, perhaps with tears, saying, “Lord, thank You for giving me the opportunity to experience Your being slaughtered. How sweet it was to be one with You in being led to the slaughter!” This is to offer Christ to God as our burnt offering. This is also a demonstration of how we have experienced Christ in His experience of being slaughtered.
If we in the churches have this experience, there will be no quarreling or fighting but only the experience of being brought to the slaughter. At the Lord’s table there will be many praises, perhaps offered with tears, to the Lord for giving us opportunities to experience Christ’s being slaughtered.
Sometimes we reason with the brothers or with our spouse. Whenever we do this we turn away from the cross. Reasoning is nothing but a turning away from being slaughtered. If this is our situation, then at the Lord’s table there will be no praises to the Lord. Whatever we say in our prayer or praise will mean nothing because we have not had the real experience of Christ in His sufferings and, hence, we have no burnt offering. In such a case we are not absolutely for God; neither do we take Christ as our burnt offering, experiencing what He experienced in His being slaughtered. This is the reason that at the Lord’s table we have repeated, common, and customary songs, prayers, and praises, without the real experience of appreciation and presentation of the Christ whom we have experienced.
If we experience what Christ experienced in being slaughtered, there will be much praise offered to the Lord at the Lord’s table, but there will not be any quarreling in the church life or in our married life. Certain ones may oppose us or criticize us, but we shall not fight with them. Without saying anything, we shall simply allow others to lead us to the cross and slaughter us. If this is our experience, we shall have a large burnt offering to bring to God, and we shall have much praise in the tent of meeting. What we present to God will be a demonstration of how we have experienced Christ’s experience of being slaughtered.
(Life-Study of Leviticus, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)