Saturday, June 11, 2005

2 Corinthians 13:1-14

Paul is making his 3rd visit to Corinth—forewarned is forearmed, better be ready all of ye
Out-of-control Corinthians. Paul’s coming, with his own brand of tough love.
There’s going to be a trial, the truth will be tested and truth will prevail. Two or three
Say so (the Law says that’s enough), and Paul will speak for all three if need be.

And more than Paul, there is the ever-present witness of Christ himself.
As J.B. Phillips has it in 13:3,
“The Christ you have to deal with is not a weak person outside you,
but a tremendous power inside you.” IF, indeed “you are really Christ’s” (13:5).
No one gets a free pass on the test.
The answer to the test is wonderful news, unless it is the worst possible news.
(And even that is not final until it is the Final Test).
Ultimately Paul wants only what is best and true for them,
Not to break them down, but to build them up.

The wonder of this letter (as with so much of Paul’s writing) is that it
Spoke so directly and powerfully to a distant people in a distant time, yet
Speaks with such force to us. Truth matters in the Church, then and now.
Authority matters. Pastoral discipline for the purpose of building up
Is a duty for those who are so called and in whom the Spirit of Christ
Lives, and yes, still speaks.

For all of us, there is the charge: Examine Yourselves.
Be ready. Remember that even in and especially in our
Weakness, the Strength of Christ is ready to move out,
To be the hands and feet of Jesus.

One commentator summarizes I and II Corinthians (from which we now move on)
“It is difficult to know whether to be more astonished at the dauntless faith and magnificent courage of the apostle, who might have given up in despair, or whether to be more heartened that it was upon such unpromising foundations that God built a world church. (William Neil)”

There must be hope for us too!
--mlb

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