That I Might Share In His Sufferings
by Brett Barry
Phil 3:10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
I really like the opening “power of His resurrection” part of this verse. The thought of God, the Creator of all that exists, alive in me. The One far above and beyond all we can ask or imagine. The Eternal Authority and King who’s word is final, and who reigns and will reign forever. The One that makes possible among men things otherwise impossible. The One who always has, and always will, overcome darkness. The reality of THAT God living IN me is beyond awesome, and most desirable.
As I think about that very God living in me, I get the picture of myself being lifted up; suspended far above my present challenges, above feelings of hurt and disappointment, even above any previous joy. And somewhere in that place of being above it all, I see Christ return and, in that twinkling-of-an-eye instant, all those who love Him and have longed for His residing presence, are changed into the magnificent, radiant beauty of His full intent. That moment when redeemed humanity will, once again, be like Him in both image and likeness.
Yes…the resurrection power that raised Jesus from the grave is a seemingly unfathomable reality, indeed. Yet, by faith, we take hold of it and are raised to life and lifted up with Him! That is truly cause for great rejoicing!
But there’s more to that verse. And the more doesn’t sound quite as encouraging:
“…and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death…”
Yeah, that part is not so exciting.
When I consider the sufferings of Jesus, the later years of His ministry naturally come to mind, especially the events surrounding His crucifixion, as Scripture provides the most information about that. I also tend to initially picture mostly what happened to Him physically, followed by some of what would logically have transpired emotionally: the battle to not personalize the abuse and pain of the false accusations or give way to the natural defense response at the assault of hateful people; the heartbreak of being separated from the Father…all for something He didn’t do, we see those things fairly clearly.
But Scripture indicates Jesus suffered throughout His entire life, a process God used to train Him for His mission, and that it was a war He fought internally against the human tendencies of His own being; against that which pulled at His mind and body, tempting Him to sin by thinking and acting in any way contrary to God’s will. That’s where we need to spend some time because that’s where the battle is at, and it’s most often the place we tend to lose our footing; at least, I do. Yet, Scripture tells us that if we are in Him, it is the very battle we are equipped and empowered to win. The one we are expected to win.
So, where’s our victory?
Next week, we’ll look at this a little more.
Following are a few Scriptures to contemplate this week that to varying degrees speak of the internal war Jesus fought throughout His life.
- Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. (Luke 2:51)
- And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52).
- During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. (Heb 5:7)
- Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. (Heb 5:8-10)
- Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16)
- Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Phil 2:6-7)
- Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. (Heb 12:7-8)
Strength and courage to you in the cause of Christ.