I love Paul… he has a way of being humble yet so… in your face.
I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little.17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not with the Lord’s authority but as a fool.18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast.19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves!20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.
Here Paul basically is saying
listen to me it’s important… and in the next breath insulting this church. Sometimes we need that little slap into reality. We are quick to judge, even if it is not out loud yet we are the same as the ones we judge from time to time.
To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that! But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that.22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I.23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.
Who says or at least admits…”I am talking like a madman”.. Paul :-). Often when people don’t want to venture out of their comfort zone the tend to use the word crazy. Paul just goes ahead and saves them the trouble of talking behind his back and points it out… love it!!
Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;
27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food,t in cold and exposure.28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?
Then he even adds his rap-sheet that is not thought of too highly in this time…and weakness well isn’t alway ideal in his era.
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me,33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.
And as if he didn’t already have their attention he admit fleeing for his life. But add an important concept that is undoubtably a radical one…boasting about weakness…
6 Though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me … 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Content with weakness,insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. That is a hard to digest, especially if you are in the midst of one of them but again it makes sense when you look at the bigger picture. Our weakness gives God room to show his strength.