2 Corinthians 1

2 Corinthians 1 has Paul introducing himself as an apostle of Christ Jesus.  Why?  Because he was held in low regard among the Christians in Corinth.  They didn’t really want to hear from him.  But that doesn’t stop Paul.  He knows His apostleship was “by the will of God”, not any man or even himself.  God had ordained him with a message for both the Corinth church and all Christ Followers and he was going to be faithful to deliver it whether this particular church wanted to hear it or not.  That is one of his strongest qualities – he is not slowed or stopped by what man thinks – he only answers to God.

His many trips and missionary service hasn’t been easy, so he makes it clear he’s continuing the journey.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God”.  We go through trials and affliction that we might learn how to depend on God to get us through, and then help others do the same.  We aren’t islands, but part of the Body and as such we need to share what we learn as we serve Christ.

Paul and his team had experienced hardship during a good portion of their ministry.  “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself”.  Guzik points out at least five things that happened:

  1. Fighting with “wild beasts” in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 15:32).
  2. Suffering 39 stripes after being brought before a Jewish court (2 Corinthians 11:24).
  3. The riot at Ephesus (Acts 19:23-41).
  4. A particular persecution shortly before he left for Troas (Acts 20:19; 1 Corinthians 16:9).
  5. A recurring physical malady.

Being an apostle of Jesus was no simple matter.  In fact, Paul was pretty discouraged at times and wanted to give up, but kept walking faithfully.

How can we do that?  By keeping the focus on Jesus.  Life is hard, and ministry is even harder.  There are many days when the enemy has us wondering exactly why we do what we do.  It would be so much simpler to just give in.  But God is always faithful, and He has given us a promise to cling to.  “For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him”.  And that “Him” is Jesus.  The Son of God is His way of always being faithful to us.  God sent Christ to the Cross.  He sent His Holy Spirit to live within us as Christ Followers.  God’s promises always come true because God has made a way.  We merely need to cling to Jesus as He is the Yes of God’s promises!

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