The Power of the Resurrection
The Power of the Resurrection
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings…” –Phil. 3:10 NKJV
When Jesus was in Gethsemane He asked Peter, John, and James, His three closest disciples—and friends—to watch and wait with Him. His soul was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matt. 26:38) and no doubt, in His humanity, He deeply desired the companionship and comfort of those closest to Him. But when His heart most longed for their fellowship…
They fell asleep.
Despite Peter’s earlier assertion that “even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you” (Matt.26:33), he couldn’t manage to watch and pray with Jesus for a single hour. With the benefit of hindsight, we know Peter’s “devotion” only went downhill from there.
Yet weeks later Peter was boldly proclaiming the gospel to anyone and everyone who was willing to listen—often at great personal cost. Years later, Peter did indeed give his life for the sake of the One he promised to never disown.
What changed? What happened that took Peter’s foolish declarations and empty vows beyond romanticized notions of extreme devotion?
Peter encountered the power—and restorative love—of the resurrection.
The order of the verse in Philippians has always intrigued me. That we may know Him—in the power of the resurrection, and in the fellowship of His suffering. It always seemed like it should be the other way around. After all, Jesus suffered, then He was resurrected.
But it doesn’t work that way for us. If we *try*—out of good intentions, religious duty, or moral obligation—to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of the kingdom, at best, we’ll find ourselves falling asleep on the job. At worst, well, use your imagination. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have to use our imaginations because we’ve seen the results of extreme “religious” devotion one time too many.
That’s why to know Him—truly know Him—we must experience the power of His resurrection. We need to know, really know:
- There is nothing we can add to our salvation and nothing we can take away from it
- While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us
- Even when we were dead in our transgressions, He made us alive together with Christ
- It’s by grace we’ve been saved, through faith, not by works lest any man should boast
- Nothing—absolutely nothing—can separate us from His love
It’s finished, beloved. We are righteous because of Jesus, not because of what we do, or don’t do. Nothing will ever change His thoughts toward you, or His opinion of you. Nothing you do will ever make Him love you more—or less.
Right here, right now, He loves you fully, just as you are.
Sadly, many of us “think” we know this because we understand the theology of the resurrection. But resurrected life goes far beyond head knowledge, it is an experienced reality. When you know it in your knower – when you really get it – when you have tasted and seen – it does something inside of you. It ignites a holy passion. It releases a holy boldness. It stirs an insatiable longing to be where He is and do what He does.
Then you don’t have to watch and wait on Him, you get to watch and wait with Him. You get to share in the fellowship of his suffering. You get to share the longings of His heart. That’s my cry and I hope it is yours, too. “That I may know Him.” That I may know, that I know, that I know, the power of the resurrection. That I might be granted the unspeakable privilege and deep intimacy of sharing in His suffering. That I might learn the blessed honor of watching and waiting with Him…
Without falling asleep.
Lord, let that be our cry—that we may know You. We want to be where You are and do what You are doing, because that is Your desire for Your friends. As we approach Resurrection Sunday, let us experience—again—the power of the resurrection. And from that amazing place of being made alive in You, may we share Your heart at ever deepening levels. ~ Amen.
Written By: Cindy Powell
Published On: 4/17/2019