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Power and Authority

When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things (vv. 23-27).

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Categories: jesus, matthew, power, priest

Power and Weakness

This is my third trip to your city and community. As the Scripture says, “Every charge must be confirmed by two or three witnesses.” As I said before on my second visit, I say now again while absent. Consider this an advance warning, if you wish, to those of you still caught up in your old sins and to all the rest as well: when I come the next time, I will not spare anyone who is out of order. You asked to see evidence that the power of the Anointed One, the Liberating King, is at work in me. Well, you will see itbecause He won’t be weak in dealing with you. Instead, He will do great things in you.Now it’s true that He was crucified in weakness, but it’s also true that He lives by God’s power. For we who belong to Him are weak in Him, but we will live with Him by God’s power for you.

Weakness looks like failure in the eyes of the world, but for Paul weakness is an avenue to share in Jesus’ death and, therefore, in His life as well. The challenge is to remain faithful even in the difficult times, even when there is no one left to provide support. It is in these times that God’s power and comfort are most evident. This call to embrace weakness and suffering is difficult. It is normal to run from pain. But the examples of Jesus in the Gospels, of Paul in his letters, and of David in the psalms are of finding God’s strength in times of weakness (vv. 1-4).

Categories: 2 Corinthians, power

Power Source

This is the kind of confidence we have in and through the Anointed toward our God. Don’t be mistaken; in and of ourselves we know we have little to offer, but any competence or value we have comes from God. Now God has equipped us to be capable servants of the new covenant, not by authority of the written law which only brings death, but by the Spirit who brings life.

Apparently Paul is responding to repeated questions from the church in Corinth requiring him to justify his actions and explain his words. But instead of addressing each separately, Paul suggests a new course of action: let my record be based on the fruit in your lives. The Corinthians had experienced the promised effects of the new covenant—transformed hearts through the Spirit—as prophesied by Jeremiah (31) and Ezekiel (36–37). If the Corinthians agree the Spirit is working in them, then they have to agree that Paul’s ministry to them is productive (vv. 4-6, The Voice).

Categories: 2 Corinthians, paul, power
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