That I may know Him – John 20:30-31 ; Philippians 3:10-11

The resurrection of Jesus is the most intriguing event in all of history. A man died and three days later walked out of the grave. The resurrection of Jesus is an historical fact, there is no denying it. For this man to have done what He did, He had to have been more than just a man. As John describes throughout his gospel, this man Jesus is the incarnate of God. He is God in the flesh. Because of His great love for us, Jesus went to the cross and suffered and died as a payment for your sins and mine. However, three days later, Jesus gloriously rose from the grave. His is alive! Because He is alive we can now have life and life more abundant. Because He is alive we can know Him.

That I may know Him (Phil. 3:10 ; John 20:31). In verse nine of Philippians three, Paul mentions how we are imputed with the righteousness of God when we, by faith, believe on the Lord Jesus. We are given the righteousness of God so that we may know Him. We come to know Jesus when we first believe on Him. However, we never fully know Him in this life. We must seek to know Him more on a daily basis. The New International Greek Testament Commentary says, “From the moment of his conversion on the Damascus road Paul had come to know the risen and exalted Lord. He had been brought by grace into an intimate personal relationship with the Son of God, and from that time on he had made it his ambition to know him. He found in Christ an inexhaustible fullness of knowledge, but there was always more of him to know.”[1] You will never get to a place where you arrive. In other words, you will never get to a place when you can just put your Bible away and stop growing. We all have a long way to go in becoming like Jesus. Our goal in life, our aim, our purpose, should be to know Jesus more. How do we know Jesus more? John 20:31 tells us that ‘these are written that we might believe.’ The Bible is God’s complete revelation to mankind. To know Jesus, we must know His Word. Careful study of the written Word is what helps us to know the living Word. To know Jesus, we must look to the scriptures. We must read and study the Word daily in order to know Him more fully.

The power of His resurrection (Phil. 3:10). The power of his resurrection is the life-giving power of God, the power which he manifested in raising Christ from the dead, and which he now manifests in the new life which the Christian receives from the risen Christ and shares with Him.[2] Paul wanted to not just know Jesus, but he wanted to live for Jesus. He wanted to experience the power of a new life in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” When you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you are now a new creation in Christ. Being a new creation in Christ is a daily process. We are to daily die to ourselves and allow Jesus to live in and through us. It should be the desire of every Christian to live such a life. Everyday we should seek to live in the power of His resurrection.

The fellowship of His suffering (Phil. 3:10). Knowing Jesus can be a painful experience. The fellowship of His suffering is to partner with or identify with the suffering of Jesus. Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Knowing Jesus requires an element of pain. It is the pain of letting go of my own life and my own desires. It is the pain of death as the old life of sin is put to death. Oswald Chambers writes, “My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.”[3] This new life that we have in Christ that is made possible by the resurrection of Jesus is a radically transformed life. It is a life that is constantly changing as it is conformed to the image of Christ. Living such a life invites the attack of Satan and the suffering that such attacks may bring. Warren Wiersbe says, “Paul knew that it was a privilege to suffer for Christ (Phil. 1:29–30). In fact, suffering had been a part of his experience from the very beginning (Acts 9:16). As we grow in our knowledge of Christ and our experience of His power, we come under the attack of the enemy. Paul had been a persecutor at one time, but he learned what it means to be persecuted. But it was worth it!”[4] This new life we have in Christ is not an easy life, but it is an abundant life.

Conformable unto His death (Phi. 3:10). As Paul participates in Christ’s sufferings, strengthened to do so through the power of his resurrection, so he is ‘continually being conformed to Christ’s death.[5] Being conformable unto His death is our sanctification. We are then made conformable to his death when we die to sin, as Christ died for sin, when we are crucified with Christ, the flesh and affections of it mortified, and the world is crucified to us, and we to the world, by virtue of the cross of Christ. This is our conformity to his death.[6] Are you putting to death your sin? Are you growing in such a way that your life is being changed?

A future resurrection (Phil. 3:11). Verse 11 is most likely a reference to the rapture of the church. Paul was living in light of eternity. He was focused on that day when the trump of God sounds. My friend, Jesus is alive, and He is coming again! We have a future resurrection to look forward to. This is the ultimate goal. This is what we live for. It is on that day that we will be glorified, made to be just like Jesus. All the pain and sufferings in the life, all of the struggles, will be worth it all when we see His face!

Knowing Jesus, the change we experience as we know Him, and the future resurrection to look toward, is all made possible by the resurrection of Jesus. Because He lives, I can press on. Because He lives, I can put to death my sin. Because He lives, I can have a new life. Because He lives, I can be changed. Because He lives, I can live forever with Him! Praise God, He lives!

[1] O’Brien, P. T. (1991). The Epistle to the Philippians: a commentary on the Greek text (pp. 401–402). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

[2] O’Brien, P. T. (1991). The Epistle to the Philippians: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 404). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

[3] Chambers, Oswald. My upmost for His highest. March 21

[4] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 87). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[5] O’Brien, P. T. (1991). The Epistle to the Philippians: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 406). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

[6] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2326). Peabody: Hendrickson.

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