2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed.
Throughout this letter to the Corinthian church Paul has been responding to challenges to his authority. Is he really an apostle? After all, he didn’t sit at Jesus’ feet like the original 12 disciples. And his physical appearance was not impressive in the least. Could a broken old man truly manifest the signs and wonders they’ve heard about? They question Paul, doubt him, examine him via written words. So in this passage Paul turns the tables.
If you’re a leader in any capacity you know that critics are everywhere. People love to second-guess your decisions and whisper doubts about your leadership behind your back. At least the people in Corinth are criticizing in the open. But Paul’s not worried about what they think because soon enough he will visit Corinth in person. Soon enough they will have first-hand knowledge of what apostolic power looks like – in the body of an old man. They will understand what Paul means when he writes, “for (God’s) power is made perfect in (my) weakness” (1 Corinthians 12:9).
And then his critics will be tested. In the face of the power of God manifest through the apostle Paul will they pass muster? Will they pass the test of faith or be found wanting? It’s as if Paul is saying, “Better pull up your big boy britches because it’s going down!” “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” – Holy Spirit edition. 😉