Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 11:19-12:9
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. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Paul needs to work on the art of the humble brag. This stuff’s a little over the top. I don’t even know what the “third heaven” is. People wonder about the thorn in his flesh. Even though we know what the shipwrecks and beatings are, they’re difficult to conceive of in detail. Okay, Paul. We get it. Chill.
He’s writing to the church in Corinth, which was full of people who built themselves up by their works, their gifts, and at the expense of their neighbor. He’s proving a point. If these works are a measurement of Christianity, Corinth can’t brag. Paul clearly can, though. He just won’t. It ruins the math. If Christ is our righteousness, and we boast in ourselves, we boast in taking something away from Christ. Paul, whose righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, still isn’t righteous enough to save himself. So instead, he focuses on those things that leave him unrighteous: his sinfulness, his weakness, his struggle against the devil, the world, and his own sinful flesh. There Paul finds the Cross and the victory won for him by his Savior. Where we cannot save ourselves, Jesus saves us. Where we cannot atone for our sins, Jesus dies for us. Where we cannot boast in our works, we can boast in His.
It changes the rest of the equation, too. I still don’t know what the “third heaven” is or what it feels like to be beaten with rods or lowered from a window in a basket. I honestly have trouble carving out enough time to do much more than these devotions each day. I sin in predictable and sad ways. And even these things aren’t enough to separate me from salvation. Christ’s victory is that sure.
Where your spiritual discipline falters, where your works war against the Ten Commandments, Jesus has died for you. Boast in that. God’s love for you is so powerful it would bear all of these things willingly to save you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
I come, O Savior, to Thy table, For weak and weary is my soul; Thou, Bread of Life, alone art able To satisfy and make me whole: Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good! (“I come, O Savior, to Thy Table” LSB 618, st.1)
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Discover new insights from each line of the Psalms in Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer. Read, repeat, and return to the Lord as you walk through all 150 Psalms. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.