Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:7-11
“I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10,11)
Paul takes us to a deeper level in his quest to know Jesus Christ. He knew that there was no greater value to him than that of knowing Jesus Christ. In fact, he considered everything else a loss compared to “the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus” (v. 5). He realized that through faith in Jesus, he obtained “the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (v. 9).
Now Paul takes us deeper in his desire to know Jesus. He says that he wants to know the power of His resurrection. We have that power available to us. The omnipotent God is our Father, the One who raised Jesus from the dead. He will strengthen us and deliver. We have the power to overcome sin and to live faithfully for His glory. He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9). While we may be weak, we have His power which enables us to overcome our fears and anxieties.
Paul goes on to say that He wanted to have the fellowship of sharing in the sufferings of Jesus. In other words, he wanted to know and experience suffering so that he could know Jesus better. Jesus suffered tremendously and when we suffer we can share in a small way what Jesus experienced in His sufferings. Picture Christ as He was being rejected and abused. Think about the rejection and disappointment He felt when Peter denied Him and the disciples left Him. Imagine the pain and suffering He experienced when He was beaten and mocked. The Scripture says of Jesus — “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not” (Isaiah 53:3). When we experience sorrow and grief, and rejection and loss, we get a taste of what Jesus suffered. Peter tells us — “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed” (I Peter 4:13).
Paul concludes by saying — “becoming like Him in His death.” Obviously none of us quality to become an atoning sacrifice for sin. Jesus alone qualified to be our substitute, for He was sinless. Jesus Christ bore the wrath and displeasure of a holy God because of our sins. While we cannot do this, we can face death in perfect peace and with dignity, for we know that God has something far greater for us when we depart this earth. We will attain to the resurrection from the dead when Jesus returns. We have a glorious inheritance awaiting us!
Lord Jesus, it is easy for me to ask to share in the power of Your resurrection. But, it is difficult for me to desire to share in Your sufferings. I acknowledge that I have come closer to You during the difficult times I have experienced. Enable me to rejoice when I suffer because through my suffering I can experience a taste of what You suffered for me. Grant me grace to face death in perfect peace because I know that I will see You face to face in glory and I will receive my promised inheritance from the Father.
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