A reflection from 2 Corinthians 1: 3-10
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.] And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead. Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.
In this second letter to believers in Corinth, Paul who himself experienced the greatest of hardship for the gospel is able to encourage the church from his own experience of having the Lord Jesus as his focus in worship and service.
He draws out the reality of comfort which is the godhead.
2 Corinthians 1:3
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;"
The word 'comfort' 'comforteth', 'comforted', 'consolation' are found about ten times in this short passage. They all have the similar root words.
'Comfort' and 'consolation' from paraklēsis which means summons for help and
'Comforteth' and 'comforted' or parakaleō, which is an act of calling to one's side.
Even as our God is the God of all comfort, Paul's reminder that 'our consolation aboundeth by Christ' in verse 5 is in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. This comfort found in Christ alone overflows and far exceeds our own sufferings for the sake of the gospel.
The rabbis were rightfully quick to refer to the coming Messiah as the consoler or comforter as Paul the Pharisee of Pharisees, points out to the church at Corinth.
As the world desperately needs this consoler during these troubled times, we have the promise of the Lord to the disciples that He will send the Comforter who is the Holy Spirit.
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;"
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"
The Lord Jesus as He is patently aware of his departure from this world reminds His disciples of this 'Comforter' or paraklētos, referring to someone who is called to one's side. He does this for the very last time in John 16:7,
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."
Our lasting comfort from God the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and comes along side us as our comfort and help.
What he has given to us is for us to share as well.
2 Corinthians 1:4
"Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
The people of God continue to reflect the joy,peace and comfort that we have received of our Lord and as Paul does this so powerfully despite his own sufferings, we continue to be His witnesses in this bleak world we are in.
As this season of Easter draws near we, remember the Lord Jesus in his darkest moments as He awaits the cruel death on that Roman cross and as He reaches out to the disciple he loves and brings comfort to His mother Mary,
"When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."
The world can be comforted through the Christ who lives in us and by the message of hope in the gospel we preach.
This comfort which we have received, and share is a comfort which knows no end.
It may bring comfort to us, when we know that this deadly virus can be cured or if an effective vaccine is discovered or when we know for certain that the pandemic is over. This is however, only a transient phenomenon as another disease evolves or a greater calamity strikes.
2 Corinthians 1:7
"And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation."
Paul commends the believers who have placed their life in the comfort and consolation of the Lord, which is referred to as steadfast - firm, sure and stable.
2 Corinthians 1:9-10
"But we had the sentence of de
ath in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us."
This season is a clear reminder that our comfort and everlasting hope is in the one who died for ours sins and was raised victorious.
"On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand!"
Dr Daniel James
Wallarroo Bible Fellowship