Sunday, October 9, 2011

What the ministry of reconciliation requires - 2 Corinthians (Capes, Reeves and Richards)

In their Rediscovering Paul, Capes, Reeves and Richards, provide us with some great stuff about 2 Corinthians (pages 160-1). I will highlight a few things in blue.

"According to Paul, his converts had failed to recognize what the ministry of reconciliation required. It meant 'carrying in the body the death of Jesus' (2 Cor 4:10), and 'walk[ing] by faith, not by sight' (2 Cor 5:7), 'regard[ing] no one from a human point of view' (2 Cor 5:16) and living as 'having nothing, and yet possessing everything' (2 Cor 6:10). In other words, it meant living like Jesus ('though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich,' 2 Cor 8:9), and emulating Paul ('as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way; through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments,' 2 Cor 6:4-5). The Corinthians needed to learn what it meant to become living sacrifices for the welfare of others. This is why the paradox of Christian existence is the leading motif or 2 Corinthians: 'for whenever I am weak, then I am strong' (2 Cor 12:10). The strength-in-weakness theme pervades the entire letter in a variety of apparent contradictions, including joy in suffering, generosity in poverty and life in death. For Paul the theological basis for this paradox is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. In weakness and suffering Jesus descended into death; in power and joy God raised him from the dead. Therefore, weakness is strength, death is life, and humiliation is glory."

No comments: