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  • East Martin CRC

Like Him in Death

Philippians 3:1-11

Verse 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,

We continue looking at the list Paul has put together of the various ways he wants to know Christ and that he would like to inspire his readers to want to know about Christ as well.

To know Christ to the point of becoming like Him in His death seems a bit of an excessive desire on the surface. Paul was not saying that we should die by crucifixion because Jesus did. Nor is he saying that we should be looking for ways to die for Christ. No, this point about becoming like Him in His death is more about being surrendered to the will of God, no matter the cost and standing for God even when standing alone.

Jesus didn’t go to the cross straight from a final celebration dinner with His closest friends. He knew He needed some one on one time with the Father. Taking His closest friends to a deeper place in the Garden, He leaves them at a distance and goes even deeper for His time of agonizing prayer. His prayer wasn’t so much about His not wanting to follow through on the plans the Godhead had chosen before the creation of the world, it was about His knowing what it would entail.

Jesus knew that this was not only going to include physical pain it was going to mean being separated from all He held dear, the Father and His friends. Even as He prayed His closest friends showed that they couldn’t stay awake and pray with Him and it was only a matter of time until they would run away and He would face His accusers alone. He faced it with humility and grace as He endured physical and emotional abuse. He was accused by the very people who claimed to love God the most and turned over to a political pawn to be sentenced. But that was the least of His pain that night.

During His prayer time He had solidified His commitment to the plan of being the Passover Lamb, a once for all sacrifice to cleanse His chosen people of their sin. The former sacrifice system only cover the sins of the people but God had something bigger in mind and only a perfect God-man would do. By saying, “Your will not mine” Jesus was saying He was submitting to God even if He had to go it alone, including being forsaken by God. This is what Paul was referring to when he said we were to know Christ and become like Him in death. But we can go in knowing that we will never be forsaken by God.

Making It Personal

How willing are you to submit fully to God? Have you ever stood for Christ when you had to stand alone? What have you not wanted to submit to God about?

Making It Personal Kids

Is it easy to obey Jesus when you don’t feel like it? Why is it important to do what He wants you to do even if you don’t want to? Do you want to know Jesus better so that you can know what He wants you to do?

Closing Prayer

Father, we know that we should always submit to You but it isn’t always easy. Give us the wisdom to know what You are wanting from us and the courage to do it, even if we have to stand alone. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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