The Words of God says: We are always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body.1 What does the death of Jesus really mean in this verse? The death of Jesus refers to submission of sincere willingness in Lord Jesus’ life to accept all sufferings that must be experienced for the sake of finishing the Father’s works entrusted to Him. The Lord Jesus never avoided any sufferings or troubles of anything to accomplish the task entrusted by His Father. It could be understood if Lord Jesus stated that He had no place to lay His head, meaning that He had no pleasure of this earth, but to do the will of the Father and finish His work. The life of Lord Jesus seemed like one’s life that had been in death sentence, just waiting for the moment of execution. His firm statement was: Yet not my will but yours be done.
The death of Jesus means the willingness to accept every suffering for the sake of the Father’s work. This truth can be proven by verses around that verse. From the context of the verse, we find Paul’s sufferings in ministry. In his writing, Paul affirmed: We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed, always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body. This is what is meant by suffering together with Lord Jesus. By carrying the death of Lord Jesus in his body, the life of Lord Jesus became visible. From Paul’s statement, we gain very valuable lesson, that one will never experience the life where Lord Jesus is visible in one self before accepting with all submission that every suffering must be experienced for the sake of God’s works.
Paul’s life was an uncommon life. Yet, that was the true Christianity, it was not a religion but a way of life. For Paul, the world was not a promised place to be enjoyed, but it was as an opportunity to strive the interests and plans of the Father as was done by the Lord Jesus. In his life witness, he said: And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem without knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit warns me in town after town that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. But I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. And now I know that none of you among whom I went around proclaiming the kingdom will see me again.2 Through such quality of life, Paul could say that his life was not his own, but Christ who lived in him.
Many Christians do not carry the death of Jesus in their body, but instead they carry the life of the world in their body. Man is normally busy like others, eating and drinking, as well as living in all pleasures. They do not reveal the life of Jesus visibly, but the life of the children of the world. They are being driven by the power of darkness into the eternal fire. True Christianity is to apply the life of our Lord Jesus. Also in His submission, He accepted all sufferings for the sake of the Father’s work. The chance for always carrying the death of Jesus is indeed a grace, since only by suffering along with the Lord, one can be glorified together with Lord Jesus.3
1) 2 Corinthians 4:10 ; 2) Act 20:22-25 ; 3) Romans 8:17; Philippians 1:29