Chapter 12 verses 1 to 10

Chapter 12 verses 1 to 10Monday 15th May 2017

Posted by Neil Todman

Read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Many people love to boast about their spiritual experiences.  We can be sure Paul’s critics in Corinth did.  From 1 Corinthians, chapters 11 to 14, we know that the Corinthian church was obsessed with dramatic signs of the Holy Spirit’s power and therefore vulnerable to any leader who could claim to have impressive spiritual power.  Out of love for the Lord and his people, Paul humbly shares something of his own experience of God, putting the focus not on the extraordinary visions he had received, but the on-going sufficiency of God’s daily grace.

Paul is a wonderful example of meekness.  Where his enemies boasted to impress others, Paul’s great concern is that others will think too highly of him (verse 6). Even though he had experienced the third heaven, another way of saying the highest heaven, the Paradise where Jesus dwells with his people (see Luke 23:43), Paul will not boast of such experiences (verse 2 to 4).  He even puts them into the third-person to distance himself from them, saying “I know a man in Christ” rather than directly talking about himself.  How humble!

Instead, in verses 7 to 10, Paul owns the experience of prolonged suffering and knowing God’s sufficient grace.  Having seen heaven fourteen years previously, Paul was afflicted from then on with “a thorn in my flesh”.  Nobody knows exactly what this thorn was, but it must have been extremely painful to have troubled the man who went through all the sufferings of chapter 11 verses 23 to 33.  Three times Paul prayed for God to take away this affliction and three times he received the same answer, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Paul says he will boast about his weaknesses- even this painful, evil, condition- because through them the power of Jesus can be seen more clearly in his life.

When my wife was dying of cancer we saw this same grace at work in her life.  We prayed daily for her healing, but instead God gave her the grace to testify to his wisdom, goodness and sovereignty throughout her terminal illness.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!

Reflection

Think about your weaknesses.  Thank God that every one of them gives you the opportunity to rely on Jesus’ strength.