Monday, 18 January 2016
For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. 2 Corinthians 13:4
Paul now draws a comparison to his (“we” meaning he and the apostles) life in Christ and Christ’s life in the flesh. In verse 12:9, he said concerning the words of Jesus to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” This explains what is on Paul’s mind here in the analogy he is making.
He begins with “For though He was crucified in weakness…” This is speaking of the weak, even fragile human nature which Christ possessed. Paul refers to it elsewhere, such as in Philippians 2 –
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8
It was in this weak, human condition that He was crucified. Despite being able to call on all the powers of heaven and earth to rescue Him, He condescended to allow the creatures He created to crucify Him. Paul is drawing the same comparison. Though apostles, and possessing the apostolic gifts of signs, miracles, and wonders, they still came humbly to those they ministered to. In Paul’s case, he refrained from even accepting any assistance from them; something he could have otherwise expected. This is evidenced by the words, “For we are also weak in Him.”
“Yet He lives by the power of God” is speaking of Christ now – raised to His position within the Godhead and alive forevermore. He has all authority “in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18) at His disposal. It is in this state that He now and forevermore will exist. Paul’s analogy to this is found in the words, “but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.” Again, this is speaking of his (and the others with him, thus “we”) apostolic power.
His words are addressed to all of those in Corinth, but they are specifically referring “to those who have sinned before” (verse 13:2). This is why he then said, “that if I come again I will not spare— since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you” (verses 13:2, 3).
Paul was ready to use his power as an apostle to ensure that the church, for which Christ died in weakness, would live by the power of His resurrection.
Life application: Again, as has been explained many times, there is no longer a need for an apostolic ministry which displays power among the churches. The Bible testifies to the ministry of the apostles and thus it is our sign that God was able to establish His church and how He did it. Because of this, we have no need for such signs today. Don’t be led astray by false apostles who are really just cheap magicians. Instead, look to God’s word to understand the power of God in Christ.
Lord God, Your word is power and in it is found all of the things necessary to see Your hand working in Your church for our good. We don’t need external signs of the apostles anymore because we have the testimony of the power of the apostles recorded there. Help us to understand this. Just as we are to believe that You once parted the waters of the Red Sea, so You once granted Your power to a group of people to establish Your church. Give us faith to understand that from these examples, we can know that You are always here and working out a good end for us, even now. Amen.