The Crucified Christ, by Witness Lee

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What is the effect of death? The effect of death is the breaking work. What needs to be broken? The human shell has to be broken. Where is it broken? It is broken on the cross. Many people think that the death of the cross is merely a suffering of punishment and pain. However, all those who know the cross know that the cross is more than the suffering of pain and punishment. The death of the cross causes the human shell to be split and broken so that the unlimited life can be released from man. This is what the Lord meant when He said, “I have a baptism to be baptized with.” He was very much restricted in the human flesh; therefore, He longed to go to the cross that He might be broken. His death was a breaking work that enabled the unlimited life to be released from Him.


In John 12:24 the Lord Jesus said, “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone.” The life of the grain of wheat is concealed in the shell of the wheat and is restricted by this outer shell. However, if this grain of wheat dies, death will have an effect which allows the life of the wheat to be released. Hence, the Lord Jesus said that once the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it begins to grow and bear much fruit. However, suppose we put this grain of wheat into a beautiful box to honor and respect it. If this grain of wheat could speak, it would plead with us, saying, “Do not honor and respect me in this way. I am greatly bound here. I would rather that you give me an environment in which I could die. I am very eager to die because death is my only way out. Only by death can the life within me break forth.”


Those who know Christ will say that the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross is beyond human imagination. If you ask a Muslim why the Lord Jesus died, he may tell you that Jesus sacrificed Himself for the truth. If you ask a genuine Christian why Jesus died, he will reply that Jesus died to bear the sin of the world and become a curse for the world. We have to bear in mind, however, that knowing the Lord to this extent is not high enough or accurate enough. If we ask a more advanced and spiritual Christian, he will say, “The Lord Jesus not only bore the sin of the world on the cross, He also obtained a great release. His life, which was concealed in the human shell given to Him by Mary, was released. This was because the death of the cross broke His human shell and split the veil, His physical body. His life was thus released on the cross.”

When He was on the cross, a soldier pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water (John 19:34). Blood signifies that He bore our sins and redeemed us. Hence, the death of the Lord Jesus was a redemptive death, as indicated by the blood. However, not only did blood come out on the cross but also water. Water refers to life. The Lord’s death was not merely for the accomplishment of redemption but also for the release of life. If He, the one grain of wheat, was to be multiplied thirtyfold, sixtyfold, or a hundredfold, He had to pass through death. If He had not died, He would have remained a single grain. But since He died, the life of this single grain has entered into the many grains. He was a seed that was full of life. If He had not died, His life would have remained only in Himself and could not have entered into Peter, James, John, the other disciples, and all those who have believed in Him. Do not say that time is so long and space is so wide. If He had not died, His life would have stayed only in Himself and could not have been in the disciples. If He had not died, He could have walked among the disciples, but He could not have lived in them.

Regrettably, the disciples only knew the preciousness of the Lord’s presence among them, but it never occurred to them that the Lord would come into them and be mingled with them. The Lord intended to be in them as their life. The Lord said that He had a baptism to be baptized with, that He had to suffer death. The Lord felt that death was a glory and a release, but the disciples were sorrowful. Why were the disciples sorrowful? It was because the Lord had to die. There were originally thirteen of them altogether—the Lord Jesus plus the disciples. If the Lord died, however, they felt that they would be like orphans. Nevertheless, the Lord Jesus told them not to be sorrowful because in only three days He would come back into their midst. Furthermore, not only would He be in their midst, but He would also enter into them and abide in them. Previously whenever the disciples were in Galilee, and the Lord was in the land of Judea, He had no way to be with them because He was restricted by His human shell. However, after the Lord’s death His life was released from within Him, and after His resurrection this life entered into all those who believed in Him.

(The Crucified Christ, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)