Psalm: 119:1-24
Old Testament: Deut 4:21-35
New Testament: 2 Corinthians 11:21b-33

Pissing contest anyone?!? ;)…….That certainly seems to be what’s happening here in Chapter 11:

. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? I am talking like a madman—I am a better one: with far greater labours, far more imprisonments, with countless floggings, and often near death. Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one (2 Cor 11:22-24)

and Paul’s list of sufferings keep going for another 5 verses lol :P.

There are other interpretations I am sure, but I’ve always thought that Paul (especially in the Corinthian correspondence) is very subtlely mocking the people that he thinks have misinterpreted and distorted the Gospel message. And who wouldn’t be a little glib in his position???

Here you have a man who (in his former life) following the Jewish law to the letter in an effort to be in right relationship with God…Suddenly, he finds his very character criticized by members of the Church who initially accepted and embraced him. Wouldn’t you feel a little bitter??? I know I would! 😛

Luckily for us, Paul’s smugness is tempered by his conversion experience. He understands himself to be a servant….the least of all the apostles….and that if he is to boast in anything, it is in the weakness he displays, and in Christ Jesus.

I wonder how many of us would feel comfortable making all our weaknesses public. As someone who has struggled with disability, doubt and depression….that is a scary scary prospect! :S

For me, being honest about my struggles in front of God and in front of others is one of the tough parts of being a Christian. But why is there this emphasis on weakness in the first place???

For one it reminds us that no one is better than anyone else. . Every single one of us has weaknesses, sins and parts of our character that we would much rather hide and make us vulnerable to pain……both as recipients, and as perpetrators :(. Remembering our own Fallen-ness is a reality check that keeps us grounded in recognizing that all are equal as sons and daughters in the eyes of God.

More importantly though, we are to boast in weakness because our Saviour himself was weak. It was only through submission, torture, pain, betrayal, fear and the Cross that humankind could be rescued from sin and death.

Although being upfront about our weaknesses and short-comings can be terrifying, it can also be liberating and lead to life. More than that, it is part of our call to discipleship. In being weak we emulate the one who came to redeem us and change us from glory to glory. +