“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
These words of Paul are some of the most powerful words in the book in my opinion. He states four different ways that he can know Christ and better. First he states “that I may know him”. It should be the deepest desire of our hearts to know Jesus as intimately as we possibly can. If you’re anything like me, you’re used to just reading your Bible and not spending a lot of time thinking about what you read or investigating what you read. We cannot get to know Jesus that way. In order to truly know Him we need to know His word and how it applies to our lives on the most intimate level. Because He is the Word. One of the wonderful things about doing this study and my study in Psalms on my other blog is that I have spent more time searching out the word of God and applying it to my life. It has been wonderful but at the same time extremely challenging. I have found many ways that I fall short and have vowed to the Lord that I will work on those things that need to be worked on in my life. Are you ready for a life-changing experience yourself? And how about trying to get to know Jesus a little more. I guarantee it will challenge you.
Second he wants to know the power of the resurrection. When I think about the power of the resurrection the first thing I think about is that the stone was rolled away. This stone was sealed by the Roman guards. It is said that it was rolled away from the inside – I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but it was a big rock. It would take several people to move that stone. God’s power was manifested in that event because not only did the stone move but something knocked out the guards as well. But the most powerful thing was the defeat of death. Jesus is the only person in the history of the world to rise from the dead. Wouldn’t you like to know more about the power that was behind the resurrection? The power that it took to start that heart beating again? The power that it took to get his body fully functioning in such a short amount of time? I sure would like to know more about resurrection power.
Third, we have the fellowship of his sufferings. I’m not sure how much I want to know about that. Fellowship means to take part in or to be together with someone. To know the fellowship of his suffering means to better understand what he went through and actually be a part of it. I do know that there are many saints throughout history who suffered terrible things for the gospel of Christ. Many have been burned at the stake, boiled in oil, crucified and beaten to death. They all knew a little bit about the fellowship of his suffering. When I think about what Jesus went through on the cross, and before the cross, I shudder. He was spit at and yelled at and slapped in the face by the Pharisees and Scribes. Then He was taken the Pilate and whipped with a cat-o’-nine-tails 39 times. This would rip His back open terribly. Then a purple robe was put on Him in taunting Him as the king and a crown of thorns was put on his Head. The thorns would have dug deep into His scalp causing Him to bleed. I imagine the blood on His back dried out partially on that robe before they pulled it off and opened up those wounds again. Then he had to carry his cross on that sore back for a long-distance up to Golgotha. And then the nails were put in His hands and feet. The suffering He went through it’s something that I can’t imagine. But I need to know the fellowship of His suffering so I can understand the price He paid for me.
Being made conformable to His death is an interesting statement. This means that we should be ready to give our lives in the same manner He did if required. We should be willing to accept that type of death if we faced it. I’ve often said that I’m strong enough to never deny my faith in Christ if somebody would threaten me. However, I can readily tell you that I would not want to face the kind of death Jesus faced. If I knew I was going to face that it would be a lot more difficult.
I have a long way to go in knowing these four things as a reality in my life. and I pray that as I go through these lessons I will come closer to that knowledge and you will too.