That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
-2 Corinthians 12:10
Sitting on the side of the mountain, the people of the village gathered around this rabbi who had recently gained fame in the nearby towns. Apparently, this man was teaching new ideas and thoughts about the Kingdom of God that was coming. Some had even begun to whisper that he may be the prophesied messiah who would arrive to restore their nation from Roman rule. Was it too good to be true? Could he really be the messiah?
Yearning to hear his teaching, the crowds leaned in to gain insight into who this many truly was. Over the murmuring of the crowd, his soft yet powerful voice could be heard:
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
Living in a world where the strong took what they wanted from the poor, the teaching of this rabbi was radical. Teaching from the mountain, Jesus of Nazareth flipped the script on the rules and authorities of the age, telling those who lived in fear and persecution from the Roman rule that true strength and power were found in being humble, meek and living in pain and suffering.
For many, this was not the answer they wanted to hear. Others mocked Jesus. Only a strong and conquering King could overthrow the Roman rulers, right?
Thinking about this teaching, the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthian believers who were also waiting for redemption and freedom from brutal Roman rule. Having been beaten multiple times, thrown in prison, almost killed by the authorities and the elements of nature, Paul was the model for a “suffering servant”. For many, Paul’s life was not one of God’s blessings.
Yet Paul knew that in his weakness Jesus was made strong. Wherever Paul traveled, the pain and blood that he left behind was the seed that helped a church grow strong. Paul desired to remind the Corinthians that it is only when temptation, persecutions, and sufferings come that God is at work in the lives of believers.
When Christians overcome difficult hardships through their faith in Christ, the world takes notice. The radical life of a Christian is a testimony to how Jesus is making the poor and weak the rulers of the world. A messiah who died on a Roman cross reminds us how we can find our own strength in His weakness. When we live in this reality, there is nothing God cannot do through us!
Questions For Reflection on 2 Corinthians 12:10
#1 Think about the world today. Does it seem like the weak and meek have any power or ability to change the world? How does this stand against what Jesus and Paul teach?
#2 Paul knew that only through the pain of suffering could he learn the true love and provision of Christ. Take some time to think back on times of suffering your own life. How did God show His grace and goodness to you in the midst of those painful moments?
Lord God, You have shown us that it is only through pain and suffering that we can know the love and grace of Jesus – who went to the cross on our behalf and suffered to buy our freedom from sin and death. Thank you for Your love and faithfulness in the midst of our own suffering. May we see that You are never far from us in our pain, and may we know you greater when we experience trials. Help us to know that when we are weak, You are strong!
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.