THE WEEK OF TRINITY XXIII – TUESDAY
LESSON: 2 CORINTHIANS 12:7‒10
We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way; through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger; by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 2 Corinthians 6:3‒10
Nothing better can happen for the Gospel than for the world to oppose it with might and cunning. The more that sin and the devil assail my conscience, the stronger becomes the justice of my cause. For the sins that press upon me hurt me; this makes me all the more persistent in my prayer and cries to God; hence my faith and confidence in my cause become stronger and stronger continually. This is also what St. Paul means when he states, “My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Inasmuch, then, as we have a treasure which becomes stronger through temptation and adversity, we should never become afraid, but be of good courage and even rejoice in tribulation as Paul also observes.
If the devil were clever enough to keep quiet and simply allow the Gospel to be preached without trying to hinder it, he would certainly have less trouble on his hands. For if the Gospel is not attacked, it grows rusty and has no particular reason for manifesting its power and might.
PRAYER: Lord God, heavenly Father, we are by nature weak and beggarly, having nothing in us with which to oppose our enemies—the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh. Make us strong, especially in the blessings of the Gospel available to us in rich measure, in and through Christ our beloved Savior. Amen.
Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil–Gospels, 5:293-306.