Sowing and Reaping Articles

Power! Where Does It Come From? How Do We Get It?

By Larry Guido

Scientists seem to agree on at least one thing: There are ten different sources that are available to produce power. These sources include wind and waves, hydrogen and hydroelectric, and are four of the most sought-after commodities on the planet. Without power, life as we know and understand it is limited and would be different and difficult. With power, our lives are full of many luxuries that we have come to expect without realizing the added benefits and comforts they bring to our lives every day.  Take the time, if you will, and consider – at this moment – how many different sources of power are available to you and are affecting your life at this moment. 

When you made your list, did you include the “power of the resurrection?” Perhaps not. If not, could it be that Christians enjoy so many “other powers” that they seldom pause to consider the availability of, need for, and possible results, and their effect that the “power of the resurrection” can have in and on their lives? Again, perhaps not.

The “power of the resurrection” was critical in the life of the Apostle Paul. In Philippians 3:10 he wrote, “I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of His resurrection…”  What did this mean to Paul? Why was it important to him? A review of his resume reveals a man of distinction who had climbed the heights of success, which he now considered “rubbish.” Things are different now, but he knew what it took to be successful, had paid the price, and knew the cost. Now, however, the focal point of this verse is knowing Christ was the goal – not a goal – of his life.  This “knowing” to Paul meant a “first-person” experience, an intimate one-on-one relationship with the Person that represented this “power.”  It would not nor could not be complete without his full understanding of the power of God that was unleashed in the resurrection of Jesus. 

Perhaps the first significant item to unsettle our minds in this verse is that Paul did not want to know “about” Christ – the things He had done, where He had traveled, who He associated with, who His parents were, what they were like, and who was included in His genealogy. Too often we want to know the “facts” about someone or something. But, knowing “about” someone or something will not necessarily make a difference in our lives. We all know a lot of “stuff” that, if we didn’t know, would not make any difference to us or what we accomplished in our lives. But, the word “know” used by Paul in this verse meant that he would not be satisfied if he simply “knew” the facts about Jesus and His resurrection. He already knew them, had even written about them, relied completely on their importance to him and his followers for all he believed, preached, and taught. However, in this passage of Scripture, Paul had a deep desire that his followers understand why the phrase “to know Him and the power of His resurrection” was so important to him that it consumed him, that he would dedicate himself to a life-long quest to an in-depth, full and complete, personal understanding of the “power of the resurrection!”

The resurrection of Jesus was an established historical event. However, there are many established historical facts that do not, nor ever will, have an impact on or change us or the course of history. So, it was not simply “a” most unusual historical event for him to be aware of or to prove. It was the most important historical event in history. This “event” removed any doubt about the complete, undeniable, unfathomable power of the Creator of the universe – the Heavenly Father of Jesus!

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead, as a historical fact, fulfilled the promise of God that He would defeat sin and death. Peter declared, “But God raised Him from the dead freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.” (Acts 2:14) Peter then goes on to quote the words of David when he proclaimed “my body will rest in hope.” Had “Christ not been raised from the dead,” wrote Paul in another letter, “your faith is futile, you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most miserable.” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19) These profound statements from Peter and Paul emphasize the fact that our hope and trust in God’s promises and faithfulness can give us peace and comfort in this life, and assurance and confidence in the life to come, that we will “dwell in the House of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)  
His victory over death assures us of our victory over death and guarantees us of a life forever with Him. These statements expose the importance of why the “power of the resurrection” was worthy of the goal, the life long pursuit of Paul: “to know the power of His resurrection.” It’s almost possible to experience the excitement and hope in the mind and heart of Paul: “Sin and death, you have been defeated! Jesus rose from the dead and one day I will be with Him and like Him!”

But, what of this present life? What about today and all of the tomorrows until we meet with Him and our loved ones in eternity? Our pains and problems, our sorrows and sufferings, our days of loneliness and our nights of despair, the times when we are abandoned and afraid, are tired of struggling and making sacrifices and nothing makes sense, and we stretch out a hand for help, and there is no hand there? 

Take comfort, if you will, in the words of Jesus. “Surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age!” (Matthew 28: 20). He would not, and could not be with us, and in us, and for us, and work through us, without His resurrection.  And, when we accept this promise of the Risen Christ and couple it with the prophecy of Isaiah, we can take great comfort in the fact that whatever we experience in life, Jesus experienced it long before us. If we read Isaiah 53 carefully, we will find the words “He was…He was…He had no…” and other words that described the “ugliness” that He would endure – and survive. They were real-life experiences that are the same experiences we have daily. Additionally, it is not possible to read the Gospels without seeing how He was insulted and injured, rejected and ridiculed, spit on and sneered at, beaten, bullied, and belittled, humiliated and harassed, abandoned and admonished. If it could be done to anyone, it was done to Jesus until He was mocked and murdered and nailed to a cross. So, wherever we may be, He was and now is!

Is it any wonder that Paul wanted to know the “power of the resurrection?” It is that power – the power of the resurrection – that assures us of the fact that salvation can be ours if we accept the grace of God through the risen Christ. And, when we surrender to and accept the Risen Christ as our Savior, and enthrone Him as our Lord, that same power becomes available to guide us, guard us, and give us victory over every demand this life makes of us, until we are resurrected to a new life, with Him, in eternity.