The Value of Knowing
Paul has just come to the
conclusion that all his Jewish privileges and achievements were
nothing but a total loss. One might argue, that it was a snap
decision, perhaps later to be regretted and reversed. So, Paul
reaffirms his conviction by saying
"I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus".
He also begins to outline the "great value" of knowing Jesus! Paul continues, in more graphic detail, to drive home the point that everything he ever did before he met Jesus was worthless. His former life was useless compared to what really mattered - Jesus! Why? Because those things did not bring him to Jesus! Knowing jesus far exceeded anything Paul had ever known or ever would know!
1. Paul expressed this in the statement "knowing Christ". This was an Old Testament teaching now brought forward and applied to Jesus! (Proverbs 2:1-10) "Knowing Jesus" is not simply having access to a certain piece of information it is a personal response of faith and obedience to god's self-relevation! It is an intimate connection with the Father through Jesus!
2. In this connection we
experience God's righteousness.
What does Paul mean by the word righteousness?
The word comes from the Greek word "dikaios" which means: to be innocent, just or holy.
The great problem of life is finding fellowship with god, to be at peace and in friendship with him.
The way to that fellowship is through "righteousness" or a "a right relationship" with God. (Romans 5:1)
Before meeting Jesus everything Paul tried to do to find peace with God was "rubbish" or Skubalon. This word means: that which is thrown to the dogs; and in medical terms it means excrement or (dung). so, Paul is saying, "I found the Law and all its ways of no more use that the refuse thrown on the garbage.
Paul had discovered that a right relationship with God is based not on Law but on faith in Jesus christ. this is the "greatest value" of knowing Jesus!
3. Paul shares other great
benefits of knowing Jesus.
A. It means to know the power of His Resurrection. For Paul the Resurrection wa snot simply a past event in history, it was not simply something which had happened to Jesus. It was a dynamic power which operates in the life of every believer.
(1) The Resurrection is a guarantee of the importance of our lives and of our bodies in which we live. It was in "the body" that Christ arose and it is in "this body" that we will be resurrected and changed forever (1Corinthians 6:13-15 & 19-20).
(2) The resurrection is a guarantee of life after death. (Romans 8:11). Because He lives, we shall live; His victory is our victory.
(3) The Resurrection is a guarantee that in life and in death and beyond death the presence of Jesus is always with us. (Matthew 28:20)
(4) The Resurrection is the guarantee that this life is worth living and that the physical body is sacred; it is the guarantee that death is not the end of life and there is a world beyond; it is the guarantee that nothing in life or in death can separate us from Jesus. (Romans 8:38-39)
B. It means to know the fellowship of His suffereings. Paul knows that when the Christian has to suffer, he is sharing in the very suffering of Christ. To suffer for the faith is not a penalty, it is a privilege, for thereby we share the very work of Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:5 & 4:10-11)
C. It means to suffer even unto the cross "becoming like Him in His death". To know Christ means that we share the way he walked; we share the Cross he bore; we share the death he died; and finally we share the life he lives forever. (Matthew 16:24)
The value of knowing Jesus is having an intimate connection with Father. It is having peace with god. It is knowing the power of the Resurrection. It is sharing in the work and suffering of Jesus, knowing that He is worthy of all our toil!! The value of knowing Jesus is not in just knowing Him, but, in Jesus knowing us!! (1 John 4:13-17)