2 Corinthians 11:1-15 (NIV)
Paul and the False Apostles
11 I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5 I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” 6 I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. 7 Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way and will continue to do so. 10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
What upsets Paul about these “Super-Apostles”?
Lord, thank You for raising up people for Your purposes who have a broken past, who may not have the education, speak eloquently, or have powerful positions. You are merciful to the meek, mourning, hurting, and humble who trust in You. You are not impressed by the external qualities of the clever, handsome, strong, scholars who are arrogant in their abilities because You know their hearts. You knew they were boastful, looked to take credit for the work of others, did not demonstrate good sense, were legalistic, and were driven by recognition and power. You, Lord, prefer faithfulness to tradition, humility to pride, compassion to busyness, submission to boasting, and weakness to strength. Paul didn’t have the background, teachings, and slick speech of the men he called super-apostles but he did have a heart for You and he did have Your strength. Paul knew that You had called him to preach Your Word. He was confident in Your true power that made him perfect in weakness and because of that, he was not shaken or deterred by their insults. He knew that his external skills were inferior to these people but his reliance on Your skills was greater. Lord, I want to hear Your call so strong that nothing can stop me from obeying. Help me to be confident in my weakness and unwavering in my suffering. I want to rely on Your power rather than my own human strength no matter what the situation is around me, or what people say about me. I pray that my greatest strength is humility and authenticity so that Your strength is what people see through me. Help me to discern false prophets in the church and in the world, who have other motives to lead people away from You. Let me trust that You are greater than anything in my past, or the struggles I face in the present and that I can stand firm in Your Word and trust You for my future. Thank You for loving me. Thank You for making my weaknesses Your strength as I worship and serve You. Use me for Your glory. Amen