I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know–God knows. And I know that this man–whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows– was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. (2Co 12:1-4 NIV)
The apostle’s enemies could not show similar sufferings as St. Paul could. Much less were they able to name joys en signs of divine community their own as he indeed was able. He does not seem to have talked much about that, perhaps he even kept silence on that matter until now. However the way he describes this occurrence is quite like the revelation of a mystery.
What does this mystery entail? St. Paul was caught up to the 3rd heaven and into paradise. There he participated in wonderful tuition and heavenly disclosures. It does remain a mystery even now, what exactly the Lord exposed to his apostle in quite inexpressible terms. However they surely must have pertained to the office of the apostles ministry. The Lord will have strengthened, empowered and equipped St. Paul for missionary service amongst the heathen and gentile nations thus making up for the lack of instruction the other apostles had with him during his mission on earth. None of the false apostles and ambitious usurpers and detractors of the apostolic office in Corinth could boast of such divine revelation and training. Therefore it was a suitable means to put them into their rightful place, reunite the congregation with their apostolic father once again and remove at least for the time being the dire threat of false teaching, sectarianism, heresy and apostasy.
Lord God, heavenly Father, whether we are awake or asleep, alive or dead, we are yours. I ask you from the bottom of my heart, take good care of me and let your face shine kindly over me, so that my faith will grow in knowing you better and more truthfully and that I will continuously will be found abiding in your will. Keep off all evil power and vain craftiness. Let me come to your rest and peace, joyfully and healthy go about my calling to serve your holy name and glory faithfully. Amen. WL
Each one stand firm, where God has place him and renounce the old, evil world. In that world yonder, it will not be asked, where you stood, rather how you stood, where you were placed. (August Sperl, 1862-1926. The translation is rather literal and neither poetic nor hymnal)
(Translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Wednesday after Sunday Sexagesimae (2nd Sunday before Lent) as found on Pg. 106 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and puplished in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.)