5. Paul Found Solidarity with Jesus in Hardship
Jesus told us He is “the way and the truth and the life”— no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). As Christians, we know we are to model Jesus. He taught us how to live and to love so we would understand how to represent Him.
In Luke 6:40, Jesus reminded us, “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” And in John 13:15, Jesus said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
Jesus is our example. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, it wasn’t easy. It was a horrible, tortuous, hours-long, agonizing way to die. He’d been betrayed by one of his closest friends, then taunted, beaten, whipped, mocked, stripped, and nailed to a cross. His suffering was brutal.
While Jesus didn’t say we, too, are to die on a cross just like He did, His sacrifice teaches us much about what it looks like to truly love one another, to go far and even suffer much—even to the point of death.
Paul understood this. The suffering he endured glorified God, but also reminded him of the suffering Jesus. He knew Jesus endured this for him—and for each one of us.
In Romans 12:1-2, Paul urged followers of Christs “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
If we are indeed a living sacrifice, then we give it all up for the sake of the Lord. We will push ourselves to follow Him. That’s what Paul tried to do. In the trials Paul experienced, he seemed to understand his suffering was a way of being in solidarity with his savior, who sacrificed his all for each one of us.
As Paul wrote in Philippians 3:10-11, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/sticker2you