From The Pastor's Pen
AN IPSWICH CHURCH
From The Pastor's Pen
Liked by God
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands. 2 Corinthians 11:30-33 (NIV)
The Corinthian church that Paul is writing to had an inflated idea of preachers who showed great wisdom and flair in the way they spoke. Paul knew this was wrong and fleshly. He made no attempt to fit their mould. In fact, he exposed his own life as the complete opposite.
In Paul’s world of ancient Rome, military might and bravery were considered the greatest heights any one could aspire to. And the greatest award for bravery in battle was the corona muralis, the crown of the wall. It was only given to the first soldier to scale the wall of the enemy’s city.
One of the central methods of ancient warfare was the siege, where the attacking army would camp around a town or city and try to force it to surrender. Battering rams might not work if the defensive gates were heavy enough. So, the attacking army would make long ladders to put up against the enemy’s walls, making a way to climb up and over the wall and into the city.
Anyone could see how dangerous this was for the first soldiers to attempt to climb the ladders, so the Romans created the corona muralis, a gold crown, to be awarded to the first soldier to make it over the wall. Very often the crown was awarded posthumously but was still greatly sought after by every soldier.
This was the kind of bravery the Corinthian Christians wanted in their leaders and the kind Paul refused; so he tells how, while escaping from the clutches of king Aretas, he was hidden in a basket and let down over the city wall. Paul was mocking the upside-down value-system the church had adopted.
Paul followed a crucified Messiah. If the world made Jesus die an agonising death on a cruel cross, then Jesus’ followers had to realise they would never be liked by the world. If the world liked them, they would have compromised their faith along the way.
As wonderful as being liked by everyone is, being liked by God is far better.