WS Update: Celebrating our Weakness

January 10, 2022

Three gospel writers record that a man named Simon was recruited to carry Jesus’ cross when it became too much for him to bear (Mark 15:21).  Convinced that Jesus was a purely spiritual being and horrified by the claim that Jesus had suffered on the cross, second-century gnostics believed that as soon as Simon took the cross on his shoulder Jesus somehow transformed Simon into his likeness so that it was actually Simon who suffered and died. This temptation to separate Jesus from suffering is something we all struggle with, particularly during seasons like the one in which we find ourselves.  As we enter a third year of the pandemic it is important to revisit the paradoxical power of the gospel, summarized by one who knew a lot about suffering for the sake of Jesus.  The Apostle Paul wrote 2 Corinthians in part to counter the rising influence of those who were identified as ‘super apostles’, leading Paul to affirm that boasting and celebrating weakness, not strength, is the key to unlocking the power of Jesus in our lives and the world.  Jesus himself summarized this principle by rejecting Paul’s plea to remove the mysterious ‘thorn’ in Paul’s life, answering: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)  As Andrew Murray wrote: The Christian thinks his weaknesses are his greatest hindrance in the life and service of God; God tells us that it is the secret of strength and success. 

In other words it is boasting and celebrating our weakness, not as martyrs or masochists, but as those who know that the grace that saved us is the grace that grows us.  Therefore as we start a new year, affirming Paul’s ‘resolution’ to boast in his suffering is one that holds the promise of a deeper joy, peace and hope as our frailty, pain and suffering drives us deeper into the one who invites the weary and heavy laden to rest.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Click here to listen to yesterday’s sermon on the power of weakness.

Click here for an excellent article on the importance of understanding gospel weakness in the lives of those who seek to follow Jesus.

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