2 Corinthians 12:1-10 … Several of the chosen human instruments of the Holy Spirit who write the inspired text of Scripture speak and give testimony of themselves in the third person. The Apostle John does this frequently, calling himself (John 20:2) “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Here in 2 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul refers to himself in the third person as he gives part of his testimony concerning revelations given to him by the resurrected and risen Lord following Paul’s Damascus Road conversion (Paul will tell us in the Letter to the Galatians that the super-natural experience mentioned here occurred in Arabia, just after his conversion.) Remember Paul was not one of the 12 disciples and, in fact, was a strident Pharisee during Jesus’ ministry. So we may wonder where Paul got his Gospel training and here we’re told at least some of that training was through these revelations where Christ took Paul in spirit into the third heaven (a spiritual dimension) and gave him all the teaching he needed to impart the Gospel throughout Asia and Europe.
Continuing his personal testimony (v.7), Paul shifts to the first person and tells us that he has what he calls a “thorn in the flesh” … some kind of disability (which many think was poor eyesight), to keep him humble so that he might live his life by grace and not by his own power. It is a powerful personal testimony and Paul does demonstrate strong personal humility, always exalting Christ Jesus. What might we conclude? Perhaps it’s this – one of the strongest and best statements we make in life is not what we say, but what we do. Thomas A’Kempis wrote a little booklet, still in print after 600 years, called The Imitation of Christ. That’s what we might conclude here … seeing the ways in which we might, however humbly and however inadequately, imitate our Lord will be the highest and best activity of life.
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