Suffering, Paul and Ministry

I’ve been reading Tom Schreiner’s Paul: Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ. These quotes were helpful and encouraging to me:

“The manifest power of the kingdom, therefore, is expressed in and through the weakness and suffering of Paul. The manner in which Paul preaches, then, replicates the cross of Christ, for the message of the cross is foolish and weak in the eyes of those who are dazzled by human wisdom and signs and wonders (1 Cor 1:18-25)” (93)

“The Corinthians conceived of high status and success as an indication that they were under God’s favor. Paul counters that the oppositie is the case; those who are condemned by the world and rejected as nobodies are God’s genuine messengers. Paul’s suffering does not undercut the legitimacy of his message; it testifies to its authenticity and truth.” (93)

Want confirmation that you are in Christ? Does your service to the Lord earn you disregard or disdain from some of those who don’t submit to the Lord? It seems that if the answer is yes, then you can be overjoyed that you are indeed in Christ and counted worthy of the name. This brings to mind the way the Apostles suffered at the hands of the sanhedrin, and what they took from it:

"when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name" (Acts 5:40-41).

At the very least all of this taken together is a reminder that to follow Christ is to follow the way of the cross, the way of the suffering servant. Increasing ignominy is the pattern; we can take on shame because the Lord himself will give us his glory.



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