February 27th, 2007
In today’s reading, Paul talked about a time when he felt crushed and completely overwhelmed, thinking that he would not survive and expecting to die. As a result of that experience, he said that he learned not to rely on himself but on God who can raise the dead. Learning to rely on God is an essential part of being a follower of Jesus. In fact, that’s what believing in Jesus is all about. It’s not a matter of intellectually assenting to the existence of God as a logical proposition. It’s about choosing to rely completely on God.
Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians — Chapter 1
1:1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God in Corinth and all the believers throughout Achaia. 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 1:4 who comforts us in all our problems, so that we can comfort other people who have problems with the comfort which we have been given by God. 1:5 Just as we are inundated with the sufferings of Christ, we are also inundated with comfort through Christ. 1:6 If we face problems, we do so for the sake of your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, this happens for the sake of your comfort, which helps you to endure the same sufferings which we suffer. 1:7 Our hope for you is unchanging, knowing that, just as you are participants in the sufferings, you are also participants in the comfort. 1:8 We do not want you to be unaware, friends, about the problems which happened to us in Asia. We faced enormous difficulties beyond our control, so that we almost gave up hope of living. 1:9 We felt like we had been condemned to death. This happened so that we could learn not to rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. 1:10 He rescued us from imminent death, and will continue to rescue us. We have faith in him that he will continue to rescue us, 1:11 with the support of your prayers. Many people will be thankful on our behalf for the gift given to us through the prayers of many.
1:12 We can claim in good conscience that we have acted with holiness and God’s sincerity in the world, not in human wisdom but in the grace of God, especially towards you. 1:13 We do not write anything to you, other than what you can read and understand. I hope you will understand to the end, 1:14 as you have already partly understood, that you can be proud of us, just as we can be proud of you, on the day of our Lord Jesus. 1:15 I was sure about this, and I decided to visit you first so that you could benefit twice. 1:16 I decided to visit you on the way to Macedonia, and again on the way back from Macedonia, after which you could send me on my journey to Judea. 1:17 When I had made up my mind, did I show indecisiveness? When I intend to do something, do I do so in a worldly manner, so that I keep saying, “Yes, yes” and, “No, no?” 1:18 Just as God is faithful, our message to you was not “Yes and no.” 1:19 Jesus Christ the Son of God, who was proclaimed amongst you by Silas, Timothy and myself, was not “Yes and no.” In him is the “Yes.” 1:20 In him, all of the promises of God are “Yes.” It is through him that we say “Amen,” to the glory of God.
1:21 It is God who connects us with you in Christ and has anointed us, 1:22 putting his seal on us, and gave us the first installment of the Spirit in our hearts. 1:23 I call on God as a witness that I avoided coming to Corinth in order to spare you. 1:24 I do not mean that we control your faith. We have fun working with you, because you endure by faith.