“I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you.” 2 Corinthians 13:2-4
How much like the Corinthians I am. Just a few verses earlier Paul rebukes the Corinthians because of their stubborn refusal to repent over the sins they were engaged in. He now warns them in these verses that he was going to “not spare those who sinned earlier” when he returned to them. I guess this means that he was going to exercise his apostolic authority and call down the thunder on their disobedient heads.
What reaches up and grabs me by the throat from this passage is Paul’s warning that Jesus is “powerful among you.” Why this speaks so loudly to me is of my constant misconception that Jesus is always away and watching from a distance. This verse reminds me that he is ever present with me every day. His perception of my life is not from some heavenly perch but from right next to me.
His proximity scares me. Why? Because “he is not weak” in dealing with me but is powerful. The resurrected Christ who demands righteousness and commands respect is right next to me all the time. He watches. He works. He acts. Your Son is no passive viewer. He is active and aching. He is aching over my sin and acting to cleanse me of it through circumstance, trial and trouble. These are his chisels to chip off the excesses and rock hard granite of selfishness and sin.
His proximity comforts me. Why? Because I am not alone in this world. He is there to help me be all that you’ve intended for me to be.
Thank you God for your Son. Thank you that he is powerful among us all. May we never become numb to his presence. Fill us with fear, awe and love.
Teach us to repent in light of his proximity.