A Caring Apostle Not Cared For

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

“Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, we glimpse into the heart of our Apostle Paul, and what an amazing sight we behold!

Preceding today’s Scripture, Paul described the suffering he experienced for being God’s apostle of us Gentiles:

“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes [whippings] above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one [195 scourgings!]. Thrice [Three times] was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep [stranded in the sea]; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen [Jews], in perils by the heathen [Gentiles], in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” (verses 23-27).

False teachers and apostles were turning the Corinthians against Paul, so becoming highly critical of Paul’s bodily appearance and his apostleship (see 2 Corinthians chapters 10 and 11). The epistle of 2 Corinthians defends Paul’s apostleship. Today’s Scripture (and its context quoted above) is Paul’s defense: my sufferings for the Gospel demonstrate that I am a genuine apostle of Jesus Christ! Unfortunately, like most professing Christians today, the Corinthians needed to appreciate the special ministry the ascended Lord Jesus Christ gave to Paul.

What Paul wrote in today’s Scripture summarizes the attitude that every Christian should have: “Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” Paul did not focus on his own troubling circumstances: He was too busy daily wondering about the wellbeing of the saints who were saved under his ministry. What dedication and selflessness!

Saints, let us thank God daily for sending “faithful” Paul to us Gentiles….