for he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. for we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God. [2 corinthians 13:4]
i read and re-read this passage several times before i saw the beautiful symmetry here.
weakness is part of who we are. life is fragile–the leading cause of death for young adults (and i use young adults because we have so many of them at Matthias) is accidents. a car accident. a trip. a fall. that’s it. unfortunately, the second leading cause of death for this age group (20-29) is suicide. it’s tragic, but we can die so easily at our own hand, and it happens too often as a part of the weakness of the world. but paul says this about our weakness–”for we are also weak in him.”
paul and his companions have experienced extreme persecution, they have endured much. some have even been martyred for Christ’s name. their teachings have been rejected but they press on for the cause of Christ. they know the truth:
Christ was God incarnate, his flesh was like ours.
for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. [hebrews 4:15]
Christ knows what we are experiencing and sympathizes with us. he has also experienced the weakness what so many of us fear the most–death. yet, he has compassion on us.
but living by the power of God
how does Christ live? by the power of God! paul is confident in his warning and chastening of the wayward corinthians–he knows that he may have to deal with him which will be painful, but God’s holiness will not be mocked. paul knows that ultimately, his home is with his older brother–Christ who is with the Father.
what do we do when we are facing affliction, rejection, and may have to do the difficult work of confronting of a brother or sister in Christ?
hebrews, continuing from above, tells us:
let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. [hebrews 4:16]
when we need help (and we always need help) we draw near to the throne of grace. we must not rebuke or confront unless we have spent time alone in the presence of God, pleading for help, pleading confidently for mercy and grace for our own waywardness.
for thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
and to revive the heart of the contrite. [isaiah 57:15]
reviving the heart, a defibrillator for the soul, we draw our power directly from the source of all power–through Christ, we have access to God! the confidence that we have is not in ourselves, but the knowledge that we will live with Christ by the power of God.
acknowledge your weakness, recognize that your weakness in Christ will result in rejection and persecution and maybe death if you are truly abiding in him.
know that in your affliction and confrontation for Christ you will be sustained by the Holy Spirit, and in death, will live eternally by the same power that sustains Christ.
oh victory in Jesus!
~ conor eastman