God’s Renewing Word of Unity in Christ Jesus
2 Corinthians 12:11-21: Paul speaks of his plans to visit the Corinthians for a third time. His second visit had been a painful one (2 Corinthians 2:1). He mentions that his ability to perform miracles proves that he is a true apostle in comparison to the special “apostles” who had been deceiving the people. Paul reminds the Corinthians once again that he did not ask the Corinthians for monetary support, and his concern now is that, by so doing, he caused the Corinthians to miss out on a blessing. The reading concludes with Paul expressing some fears about what he will encounter when he visits the church in Corinth.
Paul’s Concern for the Corinthians
11I am acting like a fool—but you have made me do it. You are the ones who ought to show your approval of me. For even if I am nothing, I am in no way inferior to those very special “apostles” of yours. 12The many miracles and wonders that prove that I am an apostle were performed among you with much patience. 13How were you treated any worse than the other churches, except that I did not bother you for financial help? Please forgive me for being so unfair!
14This is now the third time that I am ready to come to visit you—and I will not make any demands on you. It is you I want, not your money. After all, children should not have to provide for their parents, but parents should provide for their children. 15I will be glad to spend all I have, and myself as well, in order to help you. Will you love me less because I love you so much?
16You will agree, then, that I was not a burden to you. But someone will say that I was tricky, and trapped you with lies. 17How? Did I take advantage of you through any of the messengers I sent? 18I begged Titus to go, and I sent the other believer with him. Would you say that Titus took advantage of you? Do not he and I act from the very same motives and behave in the same way?
19Perhaps you think that all along we have been trying to defend ourselves before you. No! We speak as Christ would have us speak in the presence of God, and everything we do, dear friends, is done to help you. 20I am afraid that when I get there I will find you different from what I would like you to be and you will find me different from what you would like me to be. I am afraid that I will find quarreling and jealousy, hot tempers and selfishness, insults and gossip, pride and disorder. 21I am afraid that the next time I come my God will humiliate me in your presence, and I shall weep over many who sinned in the past and have not repented of the immoral things they have done—their lust and their sexual sins.
Today’s Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 12:19b
[Paul writes:] We speak as Christ would have us speak in the presence of God, and everything we do, dear friends, is done to help you.
How does Paul express his concern for the Corinthians (verses 14-19)? What does Paul fear when he comes to visit again (verses 20 and 21)? What preparations does your community of faith make when they anticipate the arrival of a special guest?
Gracious God, you are always near, ready to help in times of distress and drive out my fears. I trust in your promises, knowing you will surround me with your steadfast love and care. Amen.
2 Corinthians 13:1-13: The apostle Paul’s final warnings and greetings.