Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
The Meeting that Shares the Good News of Salvation
2 Corinthians 1:3-10
Key Verse –V5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ;
This week we are meditating on the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth (Luke 1: 39-45) and how that meeting shares the Good News of salvation. Just following that portion is the Song of Mary also known as the Magnificat (46-55), in which she expresses the one of the themes of the Good News of salvation. Verse 52 speaks of the Messiah’s role in “lifting up the lowly”.
Today’s bible portion for our devotion also takes on the theme of consolation. Verse 3 refers to God as “the God of all consolation.” God’s comforting presence is our refuge. As part of the body of redemptive work, God came to lift us up out of our lowly estate. Verse 4 explains that God comforts us in all our affliction. However, the verse goes further and says it is so that we may be able to comfort those who are in affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. God comforts and consoles us not so that we feel comfortable, rather to equip us to carry out the same work of consolation that he carried out in our own lives.
St Paul also speaks about a mutual suffering and consolation thus establishing a brotherhood of believers who share in both. He says that if he is being afflicted, it is for the consolation and salvation of the believers, and if he is consoled, it is for the consolation of the believers who are in fact “enduring the same suffering”. We who have been at the receiving end of the comfort offered by God, ought to be prepared as Paul was to suffer for the consolation and salvation of others just as Christ who came down to the Earth, suffered for our consolation and healing. As it says in Isaiah 53:5, “the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Verse 10 emphasizes the importance of hoping in God, who will deliver us. God is faithful and will be our consolation in times of trial. When we put our hope in God, despite any circumstance we may be facing, we can inspire those around us to do the same. Although there is not a physical meeting in this passage there is a meeting of the minds and hearts of Paul and the believers of Corinth in which the Good News of Salvation is shared through their mutual suffering and consolation. As we prepare during this Christmas, let us spread the comfort that Christ gifted us with by his incarnation.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for coming into this world and undergoing suffering to bring us peace and comfort. Help us to always remember that we ought to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God and to set our hope that you will continuously rescue us. In Jesus name, Amen.
Thought for the Day
The central basis of Christian assurance is not how much our hearts are set on God but how unshakably his heart is set on us- Tim Keller
The Mar Thoma Church Staten Island