Summary: The resurrection of Jesus has a purpose to be fulfilled in our lives and a power made available unto us. Our knowledge of this purpose and power will make us victorious Christians.
THE PURPOSE AND POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION
There is a purpose for which Christ rose from the dead, and there is a power made available to us through His resurrection. We need to know both the purpose and the power for us to enjoy maximally our relationship with God with the accompanying benefits in this world and in the world to come.
- "I want to know Christ. I want to know the power of his resurrection." This is Paul's primary desire, this is what Paul wants more than anything else in this life:
- To know the living, the resurrected Christ, and to know the power associated with that resurrection.
- Furthermore, if he is not raised from the dead, then he has no power today. He is dead. His words might have some influence -- but he himself has no power.
- This is why the resurrection is so central to Christians: Christianity is not a religion based on abstract principles. Christianity is a relationship with a living Savior, a Savior we can know, a Savior who infuses our life and empowers us, who transforms us into his likeness.
- But what does Paul mean when he says he wants to know Christ? And what is this power of his resurrection?
- First of all, what does "knowing Christ" mean?
- Let us first consider whether or not this desire belongs to Paul alone. Is Paul stating a personal preference, or a truth that is central for all Christians? Jeremiah 9:23,24
- Knowing God is more important than wisdom, or strength, or riches. Think about the people who are most admired in this world. They are admired for these three qualities, aren't they?
- We tend to admire those who are bright, intelligent, and knowledgeable; or those who are physically gifted in strength, talent, or beauty; or those who have amassed great wealth.
- But the Lord says through Jeremiah that none of those are of great importance. What matters more than anything else is understanding and knowing the Lord, the covenant God who delights in kindness, justice, and righteousness.
- And this prominence of knowing God carries over into the gospels. Jesus himself, on the night prior to his death, prays for his followers, saying:
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)
- Eternal life is what? Knowing God, knowing Jesus! Without knowing him, there is no true life.
- Peter also emphasizes this point:
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)
- Our knowledge of him leads to his empowering us with everything we need for life and godliness.
- John makes a similar point near the close of his first letter:
We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true-- even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)
- John says that Jesus came so that we might know him. The purpose of the incarnation was our knowing him. This is central to the gospel.