“Fellowship of His Suffering”–part 1

I have been meditating a lot this week on Isa. 53 and Phil. 3:10.  “He was beaten so we could be whole, He was whipped so we could be healed.”–Every act of Jesus Christ during his incarnation was an act of sacrifice; broken so that we could be whole. Then Paul says, “…That I may know Him…and the fellowship of his suffering.” This is the part that has always stumped me. I guess that’s partly because I have been resistant in my acceptance of suffering as a part of the path to knowing Christ. Beyond that thought, what can it possibly mean to “fellowship in his sufferings”? What does that look like? How do I do that? I think it has to do with the way human relationships are designed to work; namely that we feel closer to someone who has comforted us in pain or whom we have comforted.

So many times when we suffer, we find great comfort in the realization that Jesus knows exactly what we are feeling, that he understands our pain.  And often that leads to deeper more personal fellowship with Him. But the part that is suddenly beginning to make sense to me, is that when we suffer we come into a deeper understanding of what Jesus feels. We fellowship with Him in HIS suffering. We bear with HIM the grief that he experiences. And that leads to a deeper relationship with Him.  Suffering actually paves the way for me to come into a fuller understanding of Christ’s sacrifice, suffering, and loss.

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