The Fellowship of Suffering

by Jeff A. Jenkins
“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death” (Philippians 3:10).
Paul’s thought in this passage should be one of the primary goals of every Christian. We should want to have a better and greater knowledge of Jesus. We all need to have a deeper understanding of resurrection power, as well as the fellowship of his suffering.
Jesus taught that his disciples would be persecuted and would suffer just as he had to suffer (John 15:20). He also taught us that through our persecution and suffering we are blessed (Matthew 5:10-12).
This sentiment was also expressed by the Apostle Peter:

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing…” (1 Peter 4:12-13).

Whenever we gather as God’s people around the Table of the Lord, we are reminded of his sufferings, as well as ours.
The Greek word for fellowship in Philippians 3:10 and the word communion in Acts 2:42, are the same word. When we commune together with one another and Christ, we are reminded of the fellowship of suffering.
We sometimes sing the words found in Philippians 3:10:
“I want to know Christ,
And the power or His rising,
Share in His suffering,
Conform to His death:
When I pour out my life
To be filled with His Spirit,
Joy follows suffering,
And life follows death.”

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