2 Corinthians is regarded as the 2nd letter to the Corinthians but many believe it is the 3rd possibly even the 4th letter written to the church @ Corinth. Many Bible scholars and teachers believe Paul had written up to 2 other letters to the church at Corinth and 1 of the letters is even mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5:9.Corinth at this time was much like America today, full of sin, pride and idolatry. In the Greek The name Achaia means; Grief or trouble.
The Church at Corinth was full of grief, trouble and it was a divided church. In this letter Paul gives a great snapshot of exactly what an early church looks like. Many in the church followed different teachers, some would say they were of Paul, while others would say they were of Silas or Timothy. This is very similar to today how we have many different denominations and teachers; Baptist, Lutheran, Evangelical, Calvary etc.
It is believed by many that Paul wrote this second letter due to the bad reaction to the 1st letter. Many in the Corinth church at this time challenged Paul and his Apostleship. At times and in certain groups there was a heavier focus on the messenger instead of on the message and on Christ Himself.
In this letter Paul gives a very in depth look not only into the church but into his own personal life and walk with the Lord. In the opening text Paul wastes no time getting right to the heart of the matter.
In vs 3 Paul says; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”
I think it is important to point out that Paul refers to Jesus Christ as Lord, I think sometimes we get in the habit and thought that Lord is His 1st name and Jesus Christ is His middle and last name. The truth is, His name is Jesus..His title is Lord And His office is Christ, the anointed one.The Messiah. Just like The Apostle Paul, Paul is his 1st name and Apostle was his title. Both Lord and Apostle though they are vastly different are both a title appointed solely by God. Paul points this out in his salutations to start the letter to ensure the Church at Corinth knew from what authority Paul spoke with. Paul states “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God” As stated earlier many in the church at Corinth were not fully bought into Paul and the authority from which he spoke. Paul early on in this letter has set out to set the record straight and capture the church’s attention, Paul was chosen by God, God had sent (apostle means sent out) Paul to preach the gospel to the Greeks.
One thing about Paul we must remember is he was an Orthodox Jew and the Pharisees of Pharisees. Paul in the early years of Christ’s ministry hated Him and sought out to kill His followers. Due to Paul’s background he deeply felt he was best suited to preach the Gospel to the Jews, the only problem was the Jews didn’t want him(sometimes it is like this with family , friends or loved ones. You want to lead them to the Lord but they just won’t listen to you and it takes someone else from the outside..so frustrating)..more importantly God had a different path/plan for Paul and it was with the Gentiles.
Have you ever thought you knew God’s will better than God does himself? Your praying, reading, listening and one day you walk into that place or situation you get this stirring up in your spirit and you say to yourself..not now..this isn’t the right time… I haven’t prayed enough,read enough or this is not on my terms or “my people”. Or maybe thought ; I need a bigger office, My house should be in this place, my kids have to attend that school, we want to shop at that wegmans? I think at times with the Corinthians Paul felt the same way (minus the part about Wegmans)Paul was an Orthodox Jew and he wanted to preach the Gospel to the Jews but continually as he tries to minister to them what do the Jews do? They stone him! God had to close a door so that he could have Paul where He wanted him to be..with the Gentiles. I am certain at 1st Paul was frustrated and so it is when we finally come to the end of ourselves , get out of the way, let God be God it is then that the Lord takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. God time and time again chooses the worst, the weakest and the least likely to succeed and does something AMAZING. Look at Paul before Christ he was Saul the Destroyer once commissioned by Christ he is now Paul (little one)the Apostle. God gives us all so much Mercy and Grace!!! Mercy is not getting what you deserve , where grace is getting what you don’t deserve.
The word comfort that is used here in these verses is the same as Christ used when he said he was going to send the Comforter;
- John 14:16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Parakletos), that He may be with you forever.”
- John 14:26 “But the Helper (Parakletos), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
- John 16:7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Parakletos) will not come to you; but i I go, I will send Him to you.”
- 1 John 2:1 “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate (Parakletos) with the the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
The Greek word is Paraklyseis and the origin word is Par -ak-lay-tos which means a helper, defender, intercessor and advocate, in the Greek this word Parakletos was used when speaking of the Holy Spirit.
The father is our comforter, the Holy Spirit is our comforter and Jesus is our comforter. Isn’t it beautiful that through our sufferings and via our comfort it enables us to comfort others and imitate our father, the Spirit and Christ? He is letting us emulate Him and it is my belief that our Father in heaven gets great pleasure in seeing His creation emulate Him.
This reminds me of my son and I working out in the yard. Just the other day I was out in the yard with my chainsaw cutting down this pine tree. My son was out with me (at a safe distance of course) and he had his little plastic saw and he starts it up like a chainsaw, makes the noise of the saw and starts to pretend to cut smaller already fallen branches. He has emulated me ever since he could walk and I have always gotten a really big kick out of it. What’s also very special is that because he emulates me so often that now he just loves to work and do chores, working has become his nature..Comforting others should be a part of our nature as a follower of Christ (Being a helper, advocate, comfort is apart of Christ’s nature). It should come to us naturally, as we are filled with the Spirit and rooted deep in His word we should want to do it and not for ourselves but for our Father who comforts us.
Isn’t it WONDERFUL that we have an advocate with the Father and that we have the opportunity and privilege to emulate our Father?! So for all of us God doesn’t always chose the easy way, but he chooses His way which is the best way and he has sent us a helper to guide and comfort us.
Here is a quote I really like from Greg Laurie; “A Christian is like a Tea Bag, you don’t know what it’s made of till it’s in hot water.”
Through suffering God seeks to fortify us, make us Holy so that we might be more like Christ. When you look at the world and even the church there are many teaching theories like; Your best life now and blab it and grab it. These theories are not biblical truths if they were then what about every saint in the bible? Why did they have trials and go through pain? See; David, Job, Paul, Joseph
There is a purpose in the pain. Paul writes later in 2 Corinthians 4:17; “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison”
I love Matthew Henry’s commentary on this scripture; “let us cease to seek for worldly advantages, or to fear present distresses. Let us give diligence to make our future happiness sure.”
Give diligence to make your future happiness sure. To be diligent is to be intentional in all that we do and to give our full effort. Praise the Lord that as a believer in Christ we are filled with the Holy Spirit whom not only comforts us but helps us in our walk including suffering(s). The future spoken of is all we have, because today..the now is fading quickly (James 5:14 “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”) , our future is in eternity and we will be worshipping our King forever. Revelation 7:11-12 “” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever Amen.”
I love Paul’s exhortation in Verses 9 and 10;
9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.
No matter what you are going through just remember our God raises people from the dead! This reminds me of something the psalmist wrote; Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.”
He delivers us out of ALL afflictions…including the last affliction DEATH!
People can try and argue the scriptures but they cannot argue a changed life. Paul shares in this text that he had suffered but that in suffering/affliction he was blessed by the Lord with great comfort. This then allowed Paul to comfort others, our God is a God of Multiplication.He blesses one so that in turn he can bless a whole nation, how GLORIOUS is our God!
In closing I have a few questions for you to ask yourself;
- Is it not true that everyone is going to suffer and go through trials in this life, the saved and the unsaved?
- In your suffering do you not seek comfort?
- Do you not seek refuge?
- Do you not seek peace?
- When you are in a difficult time in your life do you not want help?
- When your back’s against the wall and you are being persecuted don’t you need an advocate?
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you have this along with an assurance that you will spend eternity with Him. By Christ dying on the cross we have received the comforter and this great assurance. If you have not accepted Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour then today is the day of salvation. He is speaking to you now, it is His heart that he might help you and save you from this world and yourself. All you have to do is confess Him as Lord and repent of your sins and you too can be comforted and have the assurance of an eternity without pain, suffering, sickness and death… God loved you so much that he sent His only begotten son to die on the cross for you, for me and our sins to then rise again 3 days later to then ascend to heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father so that we could have fellowship with the true and living God and he could be our advocate.