Scientists think they’ve identified the part of our brains that responds to familiar faces. An area known as the temporal region may be connected to the way we recognize faces. Perhaps this is what allows us to know people when we see them.
Paul speaks of his desire to “know” Christ in today’s passage, but this means more than just recognizing His face. Before that fateful day on the Damascus Road, the apostle knew facts about Jesus. But as a believer, Paul came to know Jesus as the Christ in a personal way. His life was transformed.
In verse 10, Paul focuses on two parts of Christ’s saving work, his death and resurrection, but in reverse order. First, he talks about “the power of his resurrection.” Christ’s resurrection is proof that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. Jesus “was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). Christ’s resurrection is the source of our spiritual power. The same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is the one who gives us power to live the Christian life (Rom. 8:11).
When Paul says his ambition is to “somehow” attain the resurrection of the dead in verse 11, he did not mean he was uncertain about whether he would be raised from the dead. He was emphasizing his determination to live in Christ. Paul’s ambition was to live out the new life Christ gave through His death and resurrection. Because of Christ’s death, Paul could say no to the impulse of sin, just as the Savior’s resurrection empowered him to obey God. Knowing Christ involves much more than simply understanding the facts. To know Christ is to live in the power of His resurrection.
>> Today you will find opportunities, face struggles, and experience temptation. The question before you is not whether God’s power will be present at those times but whether or not you will rely on it!
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isa. 40:29). God, we turn to You in our weakness. Remind us that “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength” (Isa. 40:31).