Last week we considered the incredible power dynamic that God uses: laying down power in human terms - going even to death on a cross - for God to raise up again. This confounding principle runs through both letters and is seen here in the first chapter of the second letter, only this time seemingly in Paul's own life.
Paul talks of sharing in the sufferings of Christ for the benefit of the Corinthian Christians and others, and yet also the comfort from God. Paul is no stranger to hardship. Later in the letter he will spill out a whole list of times, many of which taking him close to death.
Yet each time God brought him through, and Paul is convinced that it all has a purpose: to show the world the power of God. Paul is a living parable, a story-told-through-life, telling the story of power-laid-down-for-God-to-raise over and over. This is for the benefit of others, so that they may come to believe. They can then share in the sufferings too, i.e. also become living parables.
So the Key Qn introduced last week remains pertinent. If we are not prepared to lay things down, even through suffering, we will not be able to live the story, and thus not tell the story.
This is why this principle underpins every aspect of teaching we can get from these important letters. Whether it is love, spiritual gifts, giving, leadership, or living the 'new life' in Christ, all of it is informed by this same principle of life laid down for God to raise. For it is in this principle that the power of God is revealed, i.e. the ability to 'get things right' in all the various departments of Christian life.