Bountiful One, fill me this day with the living water and food that nourishes my soul unto everlasting life.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 2:12-17
Ministers of the New Covenant
12 Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13 I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia.
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Identify three things that bring you joy – and give thanks for them.
By now we may have the impression that Paul was capable of extremes of emotion. He moves from recalling the hurts of the past to exulting in the joy of the present. Exultation is the right word. What triggers this mood is meeting up with Titus, by whose hand he had sent his tearful letter. Paul leaves Ephesus for Troas (the ancient Troy) to preach – and also with the hope of meeting up with Titus to see whether reconciliation had been achieved. He is deeply anxious.
Troas was on the land route to Corinth (over 900 miles through Macedonia). They fail to connect, so Paul continues on and when he does finally locate Titus he receives the good news of the church’s repentance.1 Loving affection is restored. His relief and joy know no bounds. Once more, out of the grim details of his troubles Paul expresses his joy in sublime words.
To know Christ is to participate in a mighty victory. Paul likens it to the triumphal procession of a Roman general returning from foreign wars with booty and prisoners in his train. Christ is the victorious general (having triumphed over sin and death) and we are captives in his procession, yet willing captives. After anxiety and trouble, suddenly the mist clears and he sees that it is all worth it. All that has happened is part of a willing and grateful sacrifice that, as in the Old Testament, is a pleasing aroma rising to God.2 The sacrifice is no longer that of bulls and goats but of those whose lives are being saved even while others may despise and oppose them (v 16). Through all his troubles, Paul can take pleasure that his conscience and ministry are clear (v 17).
Most of us live quite ordinary lives, but perhaps we, too, are given moments of exultation when everything seems worthwhile. Can you recall any? Give thanks.
Mighty God, as I look back on my life I thank you for times of exaltation. I am assured that you can open doors for me even in times of difficulty.
1 2 Cor 7:5–7 2 Eg Lev 1; Ps 141:2
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2024 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.