“And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus”
And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject,
When Paul came to Galatia to preach the gospel, he came with an appalling disease that wreaked havoc on his appearance. Despite his looks, the Galatians received him with open arms.
Paul uses two terms to describe the Galatians’ response to his coming: they did not “despise” or “reject” him. The word “despise” means to set at naught, treat with utter contempt. They did not regard him as of no account. They did not disdain him as a person because of his illness. The Galatians saw beyond the repulsion of his appearance.
The second word “reject” is a compound word made up of two words: to spit and out. They did not spit him out when he came. They did not spurn him or his message.
Paul healed many people but he could not heal himself. He preached Christ as a handicapped man. God left him with this infirmity so that he would depend on God in his ministry (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus
The Galatians showed huge respect for Paul when he first came to Galatia. The word “received” means welcome. They not only tolerated him, they embraced him. His appearance did not affect the way they viewed his message.
The Galatians received Paul “as Christ Jesus,” as a representative of Christ. Paul was not handsome. There is no evidence that he had a great personality. He came to Galatia as a total stranger with no advance man or advertising. He was not impressive. He had nothing but God’s Word.
“‘For his letters,’ they say, ‘are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible’” (2 Corinthians 10:10).
God uses people with insurmountable barriers.
Some people feel that they cannot be servants of Christ unless they are attractive with a great personality. There are few people with outstanding gifts in the service of the Lord. Most of us do not have all the resources. God even uses people with limitations.
God does not necessarily use people with promotional ability and good looks. God transcends a great personality to get His message across. A bracelet in a brown paper bag is as valuable as a bracelet in a beautiful box.