2 Corinthians 12:11-13

In 2 Corinthians 12:11-13 we realize that Paul has not only accepted the thorn in his flesh, but has used it to bring strength into his life. Jesus exhibited this very thing on the Cross. Redpath wrote “Could anyone on earth be more meek than the Son of God to be hung on the cross, hung in our place that He might redeem us from our sins?  As that point of absolute weakness was met by the mighty power of God as He raised Him from the dead, I wonder if the pressure of the thorn in Paul’s life was a reminder of the power of the cross.” God’s grace is not automatic. We have to be willing to let go of self and focus on Jesus to access it. But when it is upon us, look out.

Paul, even though he has plenty to talk about, is not what he wants to do. The Corinthian church and the false teachers in it have forced Paul to spend time validating himself as their spiritual leader and shepherd. He sees it as a waste of time and focus, but it was necessary to address the claims and charges from the false ‘super-apostles’ in the church. “I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing.”

Paul still is trying to deflect the focus from himself. He didn’t want the limelight on himself, but he also didn’t want these masquarading false teachers to get credit for things they certainly had nothing to do with. Paul and his ministry team had been patient and worked diligently to teach God’s truth and carry the Gospel to the church. And there were plenty of signs and wonders and mighty works that had been done among them. And Paul wants it to be clear that it was God who performed those things in and through him and his team, and not at all done by the false apostles of the day. “The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.”

Paul addresses the concern of the Corinthian church that he hadn’t treated them as well as other churches under his care. Paul makes it clear that if there was a hint of truth in that charge, which there wasn’t, the only difference was really that the Corinthian church had not supported Paul and his ministry team at all like the other churches. Paul’s difference in treatment was that he hadn’t requested or taken any money from Corinth. “For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!” Paul sarcastically asks their forgiveness knowing that he’s done his part to care for the church like all the others under his shepherding.

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