2Co 11:29-33 “Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.”
Paul continues to state his case before the Corinthian brethren by engaging in what he calls foolishness. He has spoken of his pedigree and how that he was not behind those that came from Jerusalem in any way. He has spoken of the great multitude of his sufferings. Paul has declared that his labors as a minister exceeded that of all the false teachers.
Paul’s boasting was not about what he has endured so much as pointing to the power of God that brought him through all those things. As he continues here, he describes the closeness that he feels for God’s people. He calls attention to the fact that he feels what the saints around him feel. He was concerned for their weakness whether it was a weakness of faith, of conscience, or of body.
It was upsetting (“I burn”) to Paul when others were made to stumble (“is offended”). His care for the saints of God was such that Paul felt this on a personal level. He was willing to boast (glory) concerning his weaknesses, knowing that this was something the false teachers would not do. In his weakness and humility, he showed himself to be more devout in his concern for God’s people than they were.
Paul again calls on God the Father as his witness to the truth of all that he is saying. If you do not believe in the Living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, then this might seem an empty gesture. For those who have been called by His might power, we know there is no greater witness to the things that we speak. Since Paul was indeed speaking great things, he felt he needed a great witness.
The scripture tells us there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Paul’s next statement will give us some idea of how much the truth of God is despised by the world. Aretas, a Nabatean (descendant of Ishmael) king, was so opposed to the gospel Paul preached that he had the governor of Damascus to establish a military base there. The soldiers stationed there were charged with arresting Paul.
Paul was telling the Corinthians that he had become a “wanted” man for the sake of the gospel. He knowingly placed himself at risk of imprisonment or worse in order to preach to them the gospel of Jesus Christ. Further, he believed that God would bless him to do so. His confidence in God was such that he was even willing to be let down over the wall of the city in a basket, and thus escaped the city.
As ministers of God, we should never be ashamed of our weakness. It is one way in which we entreat God’s people to not think more highly of us than they should. It also keeps us from thinking more highly of ourselves than we should. Most of all, it is in our weakness that the perfection of His strength is manifest (2 Corinthians 12:9).
May we walk humbly before God and His people for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ, even to the boasting of the outcome of our infirmities!