2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
When the apostle Paul wrote what we know as 2 Corinthians, he was a man acquainted with affliction. A brief survey of 2 Corinthians 11 reveals that Paul endured constant sorrow and persecution as a result of his faithfulness to Jesus Christ. These details provide us with a helpful background for understanding the opening words of this letter. In a rather customary way, Paul begins by praising “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” From here, he goes on to describe the Father as the origin of “mercy and all comfort.” For Paul, if there was mercy to be received or comfort to be known, it came from God the Father through the work of God the Son.
In order to give his readers a biblical perspective, in verse 4, Paul goes on to explain their present situation in light of God’s purpose of personal comfort. According to verse 4, God “comforts us in all our affliction” so that those who have been comforted by God may comfort others who are afflicted. Specifically, God comforts Paul’s reader so that they will comfort others with the same comfort that God has given to them. In conclusion, then, Paul points his readers to God for comfort and understanding when they are afflicted, yet, once they have found comfort, he directs them to others who need comfort as well. In other words, for Paul, God’s work in us does not end with us, but necessarily extends to others. God comforts us so that we might comfort others with the same comfort.
My prayer is that we will not despise the times of affliction, but instead, see them as times to experience God’s comfort and learn to comfort others. By the grace of God this week, let us comfort someone with the comfort we know through Jesus Christ!
Comforted for the Sake of Comforting,