ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 162


in Ephesus faced deadly trouble and had to flee, alluding to the riot
described in Acts.
Paul then describes traveling to Troas, where he expected to meet
Titus and get a report. But Titus wasn’t there. Had he been delayed
because things were going badly? Were the Corinthians refusing to
be reconciled? Throughout this letter Paul is remarkably honest about
his depression, anxiety, and suffering. Paul was reeling from a sense of
loss and uncertainty until he finally met up with Titus and heard good
news from Corinth.
Paul next addresses his present situation in Macedonia, focusing on
the arrangements being made to collect the offering for the Jerusalem
Finally, Paul carries his reflections forward into the future, writing
about what he expects to happen when he arrives in Corinth. In addition to the good report, Titus has briefed him on a troublesome new
development there. Some people calling themselves “super apostles”
had come to the city and challenged Paul’s authority. They had already
won a following among the believers, seemingly by reinforcing the
­Corinthians’ error that Paul had already addressed in 1 Corinthians:
that being spiritual means being freed from the body.
So Paul finishes his letter by offering an impassioned defense of his
own ministry. He shows he can match the “super apostles” credential
for credential. But Paul had earlier emphasized an even more important point—he didn’t need any outside endorsements: “The only letter
of recommendation we need is you yourselves.” Paul insists that the
­believers are the fruit of his ministry.
Overall, Paul’s letter reveals that the character of authentic Christian
ministry is like the work of Jesus himself—it involves taking up our own
cross. Just as God’s covenant faithfulness was shown in the surprising,
suffering path the Messiah took, so it will be with the Messiah’s followers: “Although he was crucified in weakness, he now lives by the power
of God. We, too, are weak, just as Christ was, but when we deal with
you we will be alive with him and will have God’s power.”

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