That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death;
Suffering in human life is very widely vicarious. Every man feels this in himself; one part of his being paying another's penalty. If he loves overmuch, it is not love that suffers, but conscientiousness. If his passions are unduly excited, it is his moral nature that feels the transgression. If the brain be overwrought, the body feels it. The first lesson of life is one of vicarious suffering. As we go to the ship to see friends depart, and leave them with cheers and benedictions, and wafted kisses; so, when a young spirit is about to be launched into this earthly life, one would think that troops of angels would attend it, and with hope and gladness see it on its way. But no. Silently it passes the bounds of the unseen land; and the gate which opens to admit it to this is a gate of tears and moans. Through the sorrow of another is it ushered into existence. Love cannot clasp all it yearns for in its bosom, without first suffering for it. The child lives upon its parent's life. The child which has no one to suffer for it is a miserable wretch. And from this point onward, in every relation of life, one man suffers for another's benefit. It is the law of social life; and I do not see why we should think it strange that Christ obeyed the same law, only in a grander way.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;