Summary: Some of Paul’s religious assailants in Corinth were no doubt Jews. They hurled the charge at Paul that he was no true Hebrew. They said he had apostatized from the faith and that he could not possibly be a faithful minister of God. With this in mind, Paul
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small uninhabited island. He cried out to God to save him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a rough hut and put his few possessions in it. But one day, after hunting for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; he was stung with grief. Early the next day, though, a ship drew near the island and rescued him. “How did you know I was here?” he asked the crew. “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied. Though it may not seem so now, your present difficulty may be instrumental to your future happiness. (John Yates, Falls Church, Virginia, quoted in Leadership, Winter Quarter, 1992).
Some of Paul’s religious assailants in Corinth were no doubt Jews. They hurled the charge at Paul that he was no true Hebrew. They said he had apostatized from the faith and that he could not possibly be a faithful minister of God. With this in mind, Paul proceeds to describe his own experiences and consecration to God.
First he insists that he is indeed an Israelite and a genuine minister (vv. 21 23). Then he launches into a description of his personal experiences as an apostle. As examples of dedication and privilege his list include dangers, pain, and pressures from all sides (v. 26-28). Paul ended this narration of his sufferings by telling of his humiliating experience at Damascus, where he was smuggled out of the city in a basket and let down over the wall (vv. 32 33).
While it is true that any traveler could have suffered these things, Paul endured them because of his love for Christ and for the Christians. We cannot help but admire the courage and devotion of the Apostle Paul. Each trial left its mark on his life, and yet he just kept moving on, serving the Lord. If the Lord places you in a position of leadership and authority, remember Paul’s kind of empathy and concern for people.
The trials and hurts I experience will build character in my life, demonstrate my faith in the Lord and prepare me to further serve Him.