Original photo by Marianne Perdomo
Daily Reformation, 2 Corinthians 13:2-5
From the Reformer
The preached gospel is offensive in all places of the world, rejected and condemned.
If the gospel did not offend and anger citizen or countryman, prince or bishop, then it would be a fine and acceptable preaching, and might well be tolerated, and people would willingly hear and receive it. But seeing it is a kind of preaching which makes people angry, especially the great and powerful, and deep-learned ones of the world, great courage is necessary, and the Holy Ghost, to those that intend to preach it.
It was, indeed, undaunted courage in the poor fishers, the apostles, to stand up and preach so that the whole council at Jerusalem were offended, to bring upon themselves the wrath of the whole government, spiritual and temporal—yea, of the Roman emperor himself. Truly this could not have been done without the Holy Ghost. `Twas a great wonder that the high-priest, and Pontius Pilate, did not cause these preachers that hour to be put to death, what they said smacking so much of rebellion against the spiritual and temporal government; yet both high-priest and Pilate were struck with fear to the end that God might show his power in the apostle’s weakness.
—Martin Luther, Table Talk, “Of the Holy Ghost”
Pulling It Together
The small boy was afraid as he stood before his tormentors and yet stand he did. They struck him but he did not strike back. They taunted him, yet he returned no insult. They pushed him down over and over again and yet each time he found the strength to get up and stand again. After some time the weaker boys lost interest in this small, strong lad. Many of them felt ashamed. Eventually they all left him alone, never to bother him again. Who emerged the victor?
The Christian who “preaches” the Word has reason to be afraid. If she preaches Christ, there will be tormentors—verbally and perhaps physically. They may push her down again and again and yet she only has one good response. Though pushed down, she must continue to stand. She must stand in the Word. There is victory in simply standing for the name of Christ. Jesus was taunted and struck, yet he stood fast as a sheep before its shearers. (Acts 8:32) It was not his aim to beat back his shearers but if he be sheared, to remain faithful.
You may seem weak to others. You may even feel weak at times but you will find a strength in standing you never knew you possessed. Indeed you never did possess the strength; it was given to you.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers