«Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ» (2 Corinthians 11:1, 2).
I N 2 CORINTHIANS 11, the apostle Paul vehemently defended the gospel of Christ was concerned for the church. Had he perhaps set a bad example for them? He did think so (w. 4—9). Paul behaved with dignity and humility, unlike mercenary who disguised themselves as apostles of Christ to deceive, just as the devil disguise himself to look like an angel of light (vv. 12—15).
The apostle described the extremely high cost he paid to keep active in the fulfillment of the mission: lashes, endless journeys, restless nights, attacks, and fatigue (w. However, Paul did not glory in any of that because in spite of all that, he understood that he was a fragile instrument of God (w. 30, 31).
Since his encounter with Jesus, a passion intensified in Paul. What was it that this man so passionate for the mission?
Fear of Christ. Fearing men is different from fearing the Lord. Fear is what felt when Potiphar’s wife tempted him, and what Moses felt in the presence of God. To be before the message is to be before God Himself. Paul surrendered himself, consumed, and expended himself for the cause. He was not afraid of anything before men, for he feared God in everything.
Love of Christ. This love left Paul no choice. However, Christ’s mission is not position. Paul did not have a mission; the mission had him, tied with the thread that runs throughout the Bible: the plan of salvation through grace.
The Jews considered themselves superior and were filled with pride because mark on their bodies: circumcision. Paul’s mark was not merely on one part of his but throughout his body. He himself was a mark for God and for mission.
«From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus» (Gal. 6:17).
In Greek, the stigmata was the brand that the cattle owner put on his animals der to recognize them as his own. This provided identity and belonging. An ed in the fire marked them forever.
Paul had the «stigmata of Christ» forever on his body. All of us have marks lives, but one, that of Christ, must be above all. We can take Paul as a great humility and total commitment to people and his mission.
This «stigmata of Christ» was Paul’s mark What is yours?