Paul Testifies to the Marks of the Ministry Part 2
2 Corinthians 6:5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings. KJV
Paul continues down his list of things that he and many of his fellow workers for Christ endured and thus their ministry was validated or authenticated by these things and the next on his list was stripes or plege meaning the blows he received from the Jews as he declared with these words later on in this epistle or letter, “Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes” (2 Corinthians 11:24) and this was done with a leather whip that contained bones, metal pieces, and other sharp objects designed to rip away the flesh from the backs of the one beaten and these stripes or plege caused severe lacerations to the subjects body, this prompted Paul to write these words to the Galatian believers, “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (Galatians 6:17).
Paul was put into prison on numerous occasions but the one occasion that stands out the most to me is when our Lord Jesus Christ through Paul cast out of the slave girl a demon of divination or witchcraft and it infuriated the slave girls owners who profited from the predictions made by the demon “in her” and this was the actions they then took as recorded for us by Dr. Luke, “But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities, and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, ‘These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews, and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.’ The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks” (Acts 16:19-24).
Paul and Silas had not broken any laws but it was due to their ministry of reconciliation that they faced this harsh treatment and this was another mark of the genuineness of Paul’s commission from our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul met with much tumults or akatastasia meaning a state of disorder and disturbances and one clear example of this was when Paul went to the city of Iconium and many of the people there were stirred up against his preaching and wanted to stone Paul but he fled to Lystra but the stirring of the people was so great that the following took place as recorded for us again by Dr. Luke, “But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead” (Acts 14:19).
In labors or kopos meaning intense work united with trouble and toil as Paul described in writing to Brother Timothy, “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe” (1 Timothy 4:7-10). Paul was often relegated to watchings or agrupnia meaning sleeplessness or keeping himself awake and this was no doubt in large part due the fact that he was all the time in danger of being caught, captured, or seized because of his faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. The occasions we have earlier listed above testify to all the often times Paul was forced to stay awake and go without sleep to keep himself from being imprisoned or even killed.
The fact that Paul was often in danger for his very freedom and life itself, then it is easy to see why he surely spent many a days and nights in need and want of food. Although Paul surely surrendered his consumption of food by way of fasting before our Lord Jesus of his own free will in order to draw nearer to our Lord Jesus Christ, but his use of the word fastings or nesteia here has the meaning of abstinence or refraining from food involuntarily and this was something that Paul often experienced during his walk of faith in Christ as he sojourned through this life. The gospel of prosperity eluded this Apostle and he never conveyed to any sinner through his preaching, teaching, or writing that idea, but instead he conveyed these facts about his own personal journey to these very same Corinthian believers with these words in his first letter written to them, “To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless” (1 Corinthians 4:11).
“So long as we are occupied with any other object than God Himself, there will be neither rest for the heart nor peace for the mind. But when we receive all that enters our lives as from His hand, then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings--whether in a hovel or prison-dungeon, or at a martyr’s stake--we shall be enabled to say, ‘The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places’ (Psalms 16:6). But that is the language of faith, not of sight, nor of sense.” A. W. Pink
“The walk of faith and the ministry of this Christian (Paul) was not marked by designer clothes, million dollar properties or businesses, popularity or fame, private modes of transportation, or any other comforts that was quite evident with the rulers in the Roman Empire during that time, but Paul suffered much in his tent or his physical body all because he was a follower of Jesus Christ and loved Him supremely above all else.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…