The Crucified Christ, by Witness Lee

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No one who is a good vessel in God’s hand can be whole; rather, he must be full of scars and wounds. A certain sister may have believed in the Lord for over a decade, yet because her life has been easy and smooth, she has no wounds at all. She got married to a husband who is considerate, she gave birth to a son who is obedient, and she found a job that is easy and smooth. Everyone says that she is very fortunate; actually, it is not so. Many times the work that God carries out in someone who is truly in His hand is the work of breaking, smiting, and splitting. Jesus the Nazarene, the One who was the most acceptable to God, also experienced many sufferings while He was on the earth. He was called “a man of sorrows” (Isa. 53:3), and He was full of bruises and wounds. Hence, a person who is in God’s hand, if he is highly regarded or esteemed by God, will have many wounds as the result of God’s work in him. What kind of work is this? This is the work of breaking. If God favors us, His hand will work in us in many ways, and we will thus have many scars and wounds. These scars and wounds will become outlets for the flow of living water.

In the eighteenth century John Wesley was a famous evangelist in England, who was a useful servant of God and was powerful in the preaching of the gospel. However, his wife was a suffering to him. One day when he was preaching, many in the audience were touched. Suddenly his wife ran in and shouted, “What are you doing here? Can I not take care of your food?” History tells us that at the time of her death, she still had not been saved or changed. If you had asked John Wesley why God had not changed his wife, he might have told you, “If God had changed my wife, I would have lost my power.” The power of a Christian lies not in prosperity but in adversity, not in favorable circumstances but in unfavorable circumstances, in situations from which he cannot escape.


In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul told us that he had a thorn in his flesh, and concerning this he entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from him. Yet, instead of answering his prayer, the Lord allowed the thorn to remain in his body. The Lord’s purpose was that Paul might experience His sufficient grace (v. 9) and realize that he needed to be broken. What the Lord meant was that if Paul did not have this thorn in him, which caused him to feel wounded and sorrowful, Christ would have no way to flow out of him. Perhaps we are afraid of suffering, but please bear in mind that the cross is the outlet for the Lord’s life. All those who have received the grace of the Lord can tell Him, “O Lord, if I am not broken, You will have no way to come out. For You to come out from me, I have to receive Your breaking.” The cross is the outlet for the Lord’s life. He who has the breaking of the cross has the outlet of life, and he who has wounds has the outflow of the Lord’s life.

In Malaysia all the rubber tree farmers know that the only way the latex can flow out from a rubber tree is if it is cut open. Not only so, they know that the bigger the cut, the more the outflow. This is a very appropriate portrait of us, describing how we Christians first must be broken and cut open, and then the element of Christ, the life of Christ, can flow out from the cut. Hence, many times the more we are in darkness, in affliction, in hardship, and in a place where there is no sunlight, the more Christ’s life will flow out through us.

Therefore, we see that the problem that God’s life in us faces is not the world, sins, or human relationships but our natural man. Of course, the world, sins, and human relationships are hindering factors, but they are very minor hindrances; they are like garments that can be taken off. Inside a Christian, however, is a more subjective problem—our self, our natural life. This problem needs breaking. Many times there is no need for us to be broken in order to get rid of sins, the world, and human ties, but to get rid of our self, our naturalness, and our disposition, we need the breaking of the cross.

(The Crucified Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)