“…if I come again I will not spare—since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you” (2 Corinthians 13:2-3).
There is an old proverbial saying that tell us, “Be care what you ask for- you might get it!” That old adage makes a humorous point; the things we think we want may be far different from our original expectation. This idea probably described a faction of people within the Corinthian church who continued to press for evidence of Paul’s apostolic authority. But those who were seeking such evidence may have been looking for more than they bargained for.
To illustrate that point, we can turn to an incident that occurred during Paul’s first missionary journey as recorded in Acts 13:1-12. It was during that time that Paul and another man named Barnabas made their way to a town named Paphos on the island of Cyprus. It was there that they encountered a leader named Sergius Paulus, a proconsul who represented the Roman government in that area. We’re told that Paulus had a desire to hear the word of God so he sent for Paul and Barnabas.
However, the proconsul was obstructed in this request by another man named Elymas. The Scriptures identify Elymas as a sorcerer and a false prophet who was also known by the name Bar-Jesus (which ironically means “son of Jesus”). Elymas made an effort to derail the proconsul’s interest in Christianity but Paul the Apostle countered with a direct confrontation: “You are full of dirty tricks and schemes, you son of the devil! You hate everything that has God’s approval. Quit trying to distort the truth about the way the Lord wants people to live” (Acts 13:10 GW).
This attempt to dissuade a man who wanted to hear God’s Word brought serious repercussions for Elymas: “‘And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.’ And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand” (Acts 13:11).
Since Elymas was determined to keep others from access to God’s Word, he was forced to endure the physical equivalent of his own spiritual darkness. On a happier note, this chain of events eventually led the proconsul to faith in Christ, Unfortunately, that sequence also illustrated the type of fate that potentially awaited the insubordinate members of the Corinthian church. In effect, Paul said to the Corinthians, “I’ll provide proof of my authority. I may be weak, but Christ within me isn’t.”