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2 Corinthians 260 Devotional
Paul’s first letter to the believers in Corinth gives us a glimpse into his deeply personal and tumultuous relationship with this gathering of Jesus-followers. The letter we know as 2 Corinthians further reveals the triumphs and struggles that result when life in the present age meets up with the in-breaking reality of God’s kingdom. Here we see Paul working to repair relationships, explain various changes in travel plans, make practical arrangements for collecting a gift for the struggling believers in Jerusalem, and directly confront challenges to his own leadership by the self-proclaimed “super-apostles.”
In the four main parts of the letter, each introduced by a reference to a place, Paul envisions himself in different locations, recalling or anticipating his relationship with the Corinthians. The single theme running through these sections is that God will comfort us in all our troubles, and we will offer this comfort to each other. This models the life of Jesus himself, who suffered first and then was comforted. Like the crucified Messiah, we are weak, yet we live in God’s power.
In the final section, however, Paul feels he has no choice but to make the Corinthians uncomfortable, to help them face their present condition. But he ends the letter hopefully, calling on them to rejoice in God’s grace, love and fellowship.
CHAPTER 1 (ESV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
- Christians may suffer because of the faith that we have. But when we suffer and are persecuted because of Jesus, we can also be comforted because we know that God is at work, seeking reconciliation between God and men and that Christ is the one who comforts us. When we suffer for the gospel, we are put into a position of needing to be dependent on God.
- When was the last time I felt like in a pressure cooker? What happened?
- Whom do I know that is under pressure right now? How would Paul encourage me to pray for him/her this week? Spend a few minutes praying for this person. Give this person a call, in a few days, or write him/her an email or message asking how things are and telling him/her that you are praying for him/her.
Stay with God for a little longer. Continue to converse with God and listen to what he wants to tell me. Then write down any thought and/or prayer.