Jesus went around talking a lot of what the kingdom of heaven was like. He, Himself, was a visual representation of how valuable the kingdom of heaven really was. He showed us what true love really was by the way that He lived. Love like His had never been experienced so tangibly. I’m not forgetting the whole Old Testament and how God so beautifully preserved and cared for His people. I’m talking about the tangible love that was on display before the world. Tangible in the sense that people could touch him. Children could climb into his lap and listen to his heart beating or that sound of laughter from inside His chest. I’m talking about His touch that could heal any disease. He could physically lift up the head that was bowed in shame and show the recipient His total and complete love for them. Tangible. His love was visibly seen and physically felt.
Anyone who has ever experienced His love and found themselves totally addicted to its genuine sweetness knows how incredibly valuable Jesus and His kingdom really are. Once we’ve tasted the sweetness of His love, how many of us would be willing to sell everything we had just to retain His presence in our lives?
Read 2 Corinthians 11:16-12:10
Paul is probably my favorite person in the Bible. He’s so passionate and his passion is contagious. When we’re first introduced to Paul in Acts 9 (then, he was called Saul), we discover a man who’s passion was directed against Jesus and His followers. Jesus would meet him and correct his focus, redirect his passion, and use him mightily for the advancement of His kingdom.
Here in 2 Corinthians, we discover Paul giving a bit of rundown on just how his passion for Jesus has worked out for him. Remember, he had gone from fighting against Jesus to fighting for Him. We see his sufferings and the most striking part of his sufferings are all the ways he should have died, but he didn’t! God wasn’t done with him. Paul had a purpose and place on the mission field!
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FOR THE SAKE OF CHRIST… Notice those words. For the sake of Christ, Paul is willing to suffer. If you flip over to Philippians 3:8-11, you’ll notice Paul talking about “sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death...” He’s talking about suffering like Jesus and becoming like Him in His death. Are we willing to share in the same sufferings that Jesus went through? Let me remind you that His sufferings led to the word “excruciating.”
Paul was telling us that all that he suffered in 2 Corinthians 11, his desire to share in Jesus’ sufferings, and his own weaknesses were all worth it for the sake of Christ. Why?
- To advance the gospel. (Philippians 1:12)
- To be able to boast in God’s strength. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
- To attain the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11)
He understood that Jesus was worth more than anything. He understood that Jesus was that beautiful pearl of great price, worth selling everything to attain. He believed that every suffering for Jesus’ sake was worth it!