Using a rhetorical tone the apostle Paul now confronts his opposers with the trail of his own sacrifices and suffering for Christ. He begins by comparing their esteemed Judaic lineage with his own which he reveals is identical.
“22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.” (2 Corinthians 11:22)
Renamed “Paul” after his encounter with Christ, the apostle who grew up persecuting Christians as Saul or Tarsus, was indeed a Hebrew speaking Roman Citizen. Both the Judaizers and Paul shared the same physical and spiritual seed in Abraham’s.
Paul now counts his blessings by enumerating the toil and suffering he endured as a servant of Jesus Christ on his mission to fulfill God’s plan for His life.
“23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)
The apostle sarcastically calls his opposers “ministers of christ” in spite of the fact their teaching contradicted the gospel made known onto him by Christ Himself on the road to Damascus.
He follows with an extensive list topped by his deep concern for the church he lovingly gave up so much for in the holy name of Jesus Christ our Lord and divine savior. Paul counts his sacrifices as blessings, and remains thankful for opportunities to contribute to advancing the gospel and increasing the heavenly harvest.
“29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? 30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.” (2 Corinthians 11:29-30)
Paul describes his turmoil as subsequent to that of each member of God’s church. If Paul was going to boast about anything it would have to be a weakness, which was used by God to fulfill a mission or execute a plan.
“31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me; 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.” (2 Corinthians 11:31-33)
Paul calls on heavenly judgment based on the truth only known to the apostle and God Himself, not only of the harvest seeded by the missionary servant and his fellow laborers in Christ. It is fitting the apostle would conclude this section of his letter to the Corinthians by boasting about a most embarrassing though verifiable escape from Damascus.
There are countless ways to use this section of Paul’s letter, one of which involves humility. Service to our Lord Jesus Christ should be known by 2 people: You and God. Keep your harvest for God’s counting, and count your sacrifices as anointed opportunities chosen specially for you, and you too will be blessed beyond measure… Let us pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre