Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Experiencing the Life and Death of Jesus

We can't experience Jesus' life without experiencing Jesus' death.
We shouldn't experience Jesus' death without experiencing his life.

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
2 Corinthians 4:5-11, ESV

I hear lots of claims of experiencing Jesus' new life. But here the apostle Paul says that it is necessary to “always carry in the body the death of Jesus” in order for his life to be manifest in our bodies. We can't experience Jesus' life in our bodies without also (and at the same time) experiencing Jesus' death in our bodies.

On the other hand, some people, myself included, tend to emphasise the experience of Jesus' death – the self-negation, the giving of self over to death, “the never-ending road to Calvary” – without remembering that Paul says that the carrying around of the death of Jesus is “so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies”. We shouldn't experience Jesus' death without also experiencing his life.

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