Summary: This sermon deals with Paul’s thorn in the flesh. We all have our thorn in the flesh. How will we react to the pain?
OUCH! THAT HURTS!
2 Corinthians 12:7-10, "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
Countless numbers of ministers have preached on these verses before and I don’t presume to have any “new revelation” of what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was. Other Bible scholars, much more learned than I, have been unable to ascertain just what bothered Paul, even though a number of opinions have surfaced. It may be that all, or some, or one, or perhaps none of these opinions are correct because the scripture doesn’t give us a clear answer concerning Paul’s thorn.
I believe that God has purposely left out the details of Paul’s thorn on purpose. I think that God intends for us all to think of those things that Satan brings against us, to vex us, knock us down, to discourage us and to allow for the testing of our faith in God.
I don’t know about you, but I have a thorn, or should I say many thorns, that seem to just pop out of nowhere to give me a pain in my body, pain in my heart and pain in my spirit.
What are some of those opinions on what Paul’s thorn was?
1)Tertullian, a Carthaginian theologian who converted to Christianity, wrote that, according to his study, Paul suffered from severe earaches or headaches.
2)Some later commentators, from the Medieval Period, said that Paul had a problem with unruly fleshly lusts and desires that he was constantly having to repent of and put down.
3)One scholar, by the name of MacKnight, concluded that Paul had a bad problem with stuttering or a stammering speech.
4)Another by the name of Ramsay, said that Paul had reoccurring bouts with malaria.
5)The majority of scholars mostly agree that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was acute eye problems. This may carry some weight since it seems to agree with two passages of scripture that Paul wrote.
a. Galatians 4:13-15, "Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me."
b. Galatians 6:11, "Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand." Some of these same scholars say that Paul’s eye problems were the result of the blinding vision of light that knocked him off his horse on the road to Damascus.