On Easter Sunday, I preached a message about olives. Not your typical message by any stretch of the imagination, but something I felt strongly about after diving into the text. I was preaching on the fact that Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray on the night before his crucifixion. Gethsemane in Hebrew means “oil press”. And since it was located on the Mount of Olives, it was literally the olive oil press. You can listen to the sermon below by skipping to around the 30 minute mark of the video.
One of the things I wanted to tease out a little more was about how when we are pressed by the circumstances of life, like an olive in the oil press, what is truly happening is that we are sharing or taking part in Christ’s sufferings. We are actually identifying with him in the oil press.
“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
Paul wants to identify with Christ in his sufferings. What does that mean? It means he believes that as he suffers in this life, he is becoming more like Christ. Now, this is the opposite of how we believe. We believe that if we are suffering, God must be against us. Paul says, no. If you are suffering, you are becoming more like Christ through your suffering.
This concept is so foreign to us. Every time I suffer from something – a sickness, a setback, a broken relationship – God is working in me. He is trying to produce something through me. I may try to fight it. I may want the suffering to end, but God is doing what is best for me in that situation. He is a good father and is trying to get me to produce something for him. The question is what is He trying to get me to produce?Continue reading “Our Sufferings Make Us Like Jesus”