Ph. 3:10-11 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
How do we truly allow God to apply the realities of the empty grave to our lives that are too often characterized more by defeat than vibrant, dynamic life? These precious verses contain an open and honest confession to the Philippians that truly help us personalize the resurrection of Jesus. Paul already knew Christ as his Savior. But he wanted to know Him more intimately as his Lord-a desire than can only be fulfilled through answered prayer “in Jesus’ name!”
Here are three holy motivations for resurrection power that the Lord will bless this Easter:
Pray for closer relationship with Jesus. (“that I may know him, fellowship of his suffering”)
To know means “to know by experience” (gnōnai). The noun (gnōseōs) is used in verse 8. The “surpassing greatness of knowing Christ” is now elaborated in verses 10–11. This is how Paul wanted to know Him. To know him is to experience the power that flows from union with the resurrected Christ and to enter into fellowship with his sufferings (all the hardships to be endured for the cause of Christ that he had been called to in Acts 9:16).
The expression of “knowing” is used all throughout the bible to reference the intimacy to be experienced exclusively in marriage. Without prayer, we cannot truly grow in our intimacy with Jesus. Be careful to remember that prayer is not the link to a dead orthodoxy but the pursuit of a living, breathing, ruling Person. The power available through the empty grave is not about being able to just do superficial things but to grow in relationships with people-starting with Christ.
Pray for manifested power in your life. (“the power of his resurrection”)
This is a plea for the power exercised when God raised Christ from the dead. Such power is available and imparted by the indwelling, risen Christ. The power which brought Christ forth from the dead now operates in believers’ lives since they have been “raised with Christ” (Co. 3:1). “Power” (dynamis, also used in Ac. 1:8; Ro. 1:16) means ability to overcome resistance. The Christ who obliterated the stranglehold of death, hell, and the grave longs to overcome whatever resistance you are facing this Easter season.
Through this resurrected Christ we are intended to be “more than conquerors.” Pray like it! Not only should you pray for this resurrection power to be unleashed in your life, but the lives of others around you like the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:17-20: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.”
Pray for greater conformity to the death of Jesus. (“being made conformable to his death”)
Being conformed (present participle) to his death further defines the experience as one of continual dying out to self. “If by any means” is not implying uncertainty but humility; there is no doubt about the realization. The only uncertainty is as to how Paul is going to attain unto the resurrection of the dead: by a martyr’s death, by a nonviolent death, or by the Rapture. Sufferings cannot daunt Paul; death cannot terrorize him. These are just opportunities for a fuller and a richer fellowship with Christ. What a view! A view only possible through tenacious prayer.
Christians are to live as those who died with Christ (Ro. 6:6–8) and who have been raised to a newness of life (Ro. 6:4). You cannot have Easter Sunday morning in your soul and life without first experiencing the rough realities of the cross on Good Friday. Pray alone enables you to truly join the voice of Paul, “I die daily” (1 Co. 15:31).
Truly prayer alone can unleash the resurrection of Jesus with a palpable, supernatural sovereignty not only over your death someday but your life today. In the midst of all your spring activities and priorities, don’t forget your life-giving, life-sustaining supplications! Prayer will keep the epic, earth-shaking Lordship of Jesus at the forefront of your mind and heart like nothing else. As Adrian Rodgers once asserted, “We ought to be living as if Jesus died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back this afternoon.”