Bob Hudson – 2 Corinthians 12:1-6 (ESV)
2 Corinthians 12:1-6 (ESV)
I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven– whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses–6 though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.
Ephesians 2:4-8 (ESV)
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ– by grace you have been saved–6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God
“Paul’s Instincts have been turned inside out by the gospel. While those outside of Christ long to boast in their strengths and hold their weaknesses at arm’s length, Paul longs to boast in his weaknesses and hold his strengths at arm’s length.”
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 11:24-28
24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
“The presence of God will sustain Paul [ and you and I]; the power of God will strengthen him. What we must not miss is that it is not Paul’s strength but God’s. Paul’s contribution is weakness. But this is not a concession; it is precisely what God needs. This is the mystery, the wonder, the glory, of apostolic Christianity: our weakness attracts, not repels, God’s own power. Our lowness and incapacities, which we naturally fear and flee, are precisely where God loves to dwell.”
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.