Some quick thoughts from the 2 Corinthians reading this week, but still a thought worth some profetic pondering.
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.
-- 2 Corinthians 12:5
... but [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
-- 2 Corinthians 12:9, alternate reading
Verses 5 and 9 are kind of quoted and cited through editorial insertion in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 12: Repentance (AP 12.160) to address the issue of physical punishment for sin. Melanchthon wonders if God punishes our bodies for our sin, then what was the point of Jesus' death? Instead, he states that our bodies are "sacrifices to show our obedience." We strive for faithfulness that shows in our bodies so that God's power might be made perfect in our weakness.
Verse 9 is also kind of quoted in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 7: Holy Supper (SD 7.70). It's kind of quoted because they go with Luther's translation of the verse, which reads, "God's power is made mighty in the weak." This citation is part of a string of scriptural passages describing someone who is a "true and worthy guest" (SD 7.69), ready and acceptable to receive communion. In receiving God's grace in the body and blood of Christ in the bread and wine, we recognize our own weakness.
The weakness we discover in our bodies through our faithfulness is God's power. No where is this more present than in communion. And yet how many bars or tests do we create as to who best receives communion worthily. So we need prophets, who in their weakness proclaim our weakness. And who wants to hear that? Well, the new person rising up in us as the old person drowns.
We need prophets, but we also hate them. This is also true for those who find themselves proclaiming God's word as part of their calling. We, too, need prophets, but we also hate them. And it gets even worse if you find yourself as a prophet. Spend time in Ezekiel or Jeremiah or any of the prophets, really. There is a constant struggle with what is to be proclaimed. Is this really God's word or just my opinion? Am I willing to lose my job or my life if I say this thing that no one wants to hear?
Let us embrace the work of prophets along with the testing of the spirits so that we might not fall into the trap of listening only to those voices who say what we like. God sanctifies us through our weakness. God sanctifies others through our weakness. Through our weakness, God saves all.