72 The “dying” of Jesus. 2Cor4;10
On the farm there are orchards and plough lands. The one is pruned, fertilized, and harvested. The other is ploughed, sowed, fertilized and harvested. The orchard bears its harvest as an ongoing process, the plough land as something that starts from scratch every year. But both need toil and attention throughout the year to deliver its harvest. To me this is an image of the choice before translators when translating “nekrōsin” (death) in 2Cor.4:10.
(KJVR) “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”
(NIV) “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”
(BBE) “In our bodies there is ever the mark of the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be seen in our bodies.”
(CEV) “We face death every day because of Jesus. Our bodies show what his death was like, so that his life can also be seen in us.”
The Greek word nekrōsin expresses the final state of deadness, “a corpse.” We find the same word in Rom.4:19 where it indicates the final state of infertility of both Abraham and Sarah. (KJV: “…he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb.” NIV: “…he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.” The CEV opted to paraphrase: “…He knew that he was almost dead and that his wife Sarah could not have children.”)
Did Paul use “nekrōsin” in 2 Cor.4:10 to emphasize an ongoing “dying-process” throughout the life of Jesus ending in the final death on the cross? This would then reflect on the ongoing life of suffering of the apostle, ending in the final triumph of life. Or did Paul have in mind the final death on Calvary that repeated itself as a done victory in every bout of suffering, encouraging the apostle time and time again by calling him to a victorious life?
The second part of 2Cor.4:10 reflects the first: “…so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” The “harvest” in every tribulation should be “life” and victory in Christ.
Recognizing both the death and resurrection of Christ in our lives is the work of the Holy Spirit in order to bring to reality 2 Cor. 3:18: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” Daily He enhances us to be changed to the image of Christ’s self-sacrificing love to reveal the glory of Christ in our life of humble service of love to one another and even to our enemies, as is written in Mat. 5:44. That would portray us as the image bearers of our Father. But that requires a life of the daily dying of ourselves.
In every tribulation that comes our way, let us then look up to the victory that Jesus has already achieved for us through His death and resurrection. Let that quicken us to new life. Let the Holy Spirit bring to reality 2Cor3:18 in our own lives.
Earthen vessels, who through repeated portrayal of the death and resurrection of Christ glorify his victory!
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