“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…” 2 Corinthians 1:3 NASB
As we come now to the book of 2nd Corinthians, Paul addresses some of the things he previously addressed in 1st Corinthians, but also deals with a few new issues as well.
Think of 1st Corinthians as a call for believers to be unified with each other, while the focus of 2nd Corinthians is for the church in Corinth to be unified with Paul and his ministry.
In the same way, we should be unified as a church in ministry for the furtherance of the Gospel.
In 2nd Corinthians we find Paul’s thoughts on the Gospel ministry (Chapters 2-5), encouragements for holy living, (Chapters 6-7), and instructions about giving (Chapters 8-9).
One point Paul makes in our reading for today is that we can find genuine comfort in God as Paul did.
Paul knew a thing or two about suffering for the gospel, something we will cover in more detail next week, but here in 2nd Corinthians, Paul’s opponents are undermining his work in Corinth, claiming that Paul was not an Apostle – why? Because he suffered too much!
I guess their thought was a real apostle would be spared some of the opposition Paul suffered at the hands of men.
Yet, Paul had learned the great lesson of suffering for the Gospel, his suffering highlights his dependence on Christ, as it points to Christ’s strength and not his own.
We are reminded that God comforts us so that we can comfort others.
I was reading through several passages in Matthew 5 earlier in the week – verses from Jesus’s teaching we call the Sermon on the Mount.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 ESV
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10 ESV
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 ESV
As Christians we share in the sufferings and comfort of others. But, we rely not on ourselves but on Him.
Paul found genuine comfort in God. We will too.
As we go through the difficult times in life, no matter what the storm or challenge we face, we find comfort in the Word of God, comfort in the prayers of those around us, and we find comfort in the examples of the saints that have gone before us.
Our God is a God of mercy and comfort, in Him we can rest.
Until next time… keep reading!