Daily Lectionary: 1 Kings 8:22-30, 46-63; 2 Corinthians 4:1-18
“So we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Proclaiming the Good News of Christ in the first century AD wasn’t easy. Teaching God’s Word meant facing resistance, hostility, and persecution. Paul says that he and his companions were afflicted in every way.
In such an environment, it would be tempting to change the message to make the Gospel more appealing. If you made it fit in with the popular culture, then no one would take offense and you wouldn’t have to suffer. But Paul called this “disgraceful underhanded ways,” and he refused to “practice cunning or to tamper with God’s Word.” Paul would not compromise truth for his own convenience.
But wouldn’t compromising result in more people knowing Jesus? Not really. Giving people a watered-down, false version of Jesus isn’t going to put them on the path to salvation. Further, Paul explains that if the Gospel is veiled, “It is veiled to those who are perishing,” that is, to those who are lost in sin and deluded by Satan, for “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:3).
How similar things are today! While most Christians are spared physical persecution, we who by God’s grace have been called to believe in Jesus still face a lot of hostility and mockery. We, too, encounter unbelievers blinded by the god of this world. In such an environment it would be easy to give up on evangelism and say, “Why bother?”
Paul tells us the answer: Just as God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, so He will raise His Christians and bring us into His presence, “so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:15). Why proclaim the Good News if you may have to suffer? Because the end result is worth it! Grace will extend to more people, thanksgiving will increase, and all of this will bring more glory to God.
So, no matter how bad things get, Christians don’t lose heart. “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O Christ, our true and only light, Enlighten those who sit in night; Let those afar now hear Your voice And in your fold with us rejoice. (“O Christ, Our True and Only Light” LSB 839, st.1)
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch