International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday August 3, 2014
Purpose: To find comfort and courage in the truth that Christ’s suffering is ours, but his consolation is ours as well
Bible Lesson: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
2 Corinthians 1:3-11 (CEB)
(3) May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. (4) He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God. (5) That is because we receive so much comfort through Christ in the same way that we share so many of Christ’s sufferings. (6) So if we have trouble, it is to bring you comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is to bring you comfort from the experience of endurance while you go through the same sufferings that we also suffer. (7) Our hope for you is certain, because we know that as you are partners in suffering, so also you are partners in comfort.
(8) Brothers and sisters, we don’t want you to be unaware of the troubles that we went through in Asia. We were weighed down with a load of suffering that was so far beyond our strength that we were afraid we might not survive.( 9) It certainly seemed to us as if we had gotten the death penalty. This was so that we would have confidence in God, who raises the dead, instead of ourselves.(10) God rescued us from a terrible death, and he will rescue us. We have set our hope on him that he will rescue us again, (11) since you are helping with your prayer for us. Then many people can thank God on our behalf for the gift that was given to us through the prayers of many people.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This week our study moves to Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth. Even though this book is usually considered one letter, it may have been a compilation of several letters put into a single letter form. If you were to set down and read this letter as presented you might find some parts that seem to jump from one subject to another and then go back to the original thought such as 6:13 to 7:2. As you read you might notice that 7:2 picks up where 6:13 left off and 7:5 appears to belong right after 2:13.
Chapters 8-9 deals with a plea for money for the Jerusalem church, and may have been another letter. While chapters 10-13 carries a confrontational tone and seems defensive. This also could have been a separate letter.
Whatever the order or mixing of letters one thing is sure, Paul is the author and the church at Corinth is the primary recipient, along with all of Achaia.
Paul does not share with us all that was going on in Corinth and how Christ followers were suffering, obviously those addressed knew exactly how those Christ followers were suffering. Paul also does not go into detail about his own close call with death, but he does share his testimony.
Paul’s close call with death strengthened his faith, because he had to rely completely on God, there was nothing he could do in his own strength.
Sometimes it is hard for us to comfort those that are facing tragedies, when we ourselves have never had the experience of going through those terrible times. Regardless we should be able to assure them that Jesus and God are well aware and they have faced whatever those in need of comfort are going through. Just as we all share in Christ suffering, we also share in giving Christ’s comfort.
Whatever we are experiencing, there is comfort in knowing there is salvation for us in the end, and we will come out of this okay in the end.
Today’s news is full of people suffering for Christ sake all around the world, however most of us in America have never been put to this sort of test. Our suffering is more along the lines of everyday human events, sickness, death, family issues, loneliness, poverty. All of which puts us in need of comfort, and also gives us a responsibility to be the one delivering comfort for Christ sake.
I would recommend a website https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DMoLPVZ5O8 that a friend Steve Saint has posted, Steve has gone through many tragedies in his life and many of you may be familiar with his story. Steve’s father along with four other missionaries were martyred in the 50’s in the Amazon jungle. The movie “The End of the Spear” depicted the story.
I hope hearing and seeing Steve’s story helps you as you share with those you teach and love about compassion and comfort. But more importantly about living a life of faith regardless of the circumstances.