10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
Verses 12-13 show that the suffering Paul’s team endured was for the purpose of serving the Lord Jesus. The resurrection power of Christ enabled them to do this. All the problems in verses 8 and 9 amount to carrying the death of Jesus in one’s body.
10 always carrying about in the body
Paul’s team experienced life-threatening situations for the cause of Christ (1 Co. 4:11; 2 Co. 6:5, 9; 11:23–25; Ga. 6:17). They exposed themselves to the possibility of death for Christ. This threat was “always” present in their ministry. It was a way of life for them (Ro 8:36; 1 Co 15:31). The team always proclaimed the death of Jesus, and the possibility of physical death was their constant companion.
the dying of the Lord Jesus,
This phrase refers to the fourfold distress of verses 8 and 9.
There are two primary Greek words for death. One means the event of death itself, but the other refers to the process of dying (our verse). The word here is not the common word for death; the only other occurrence is Romans 4:19. This word describes the course of dying, weakening, and decomposition. Danger constantly surrounded the team (2 Co 11:26). They identified with the Lord Jesus’ life of suffering.
that [goal] the life of Jesus also may be manifested [revealed] in our body.
The name “Jesus” by itself refers to the humanity of Christ. Here it refers to His physical suffering. The patient physical suffering of the gospel team also manifested the power of the living Christ. By this, the Corinthians could witness their victory over hardship.
Serving the Lord means that we make our lives expendable for Him.
God’s goal for what we experience is to reveal Christ to others. The sufferings of Christ work themselves out in our lives. They point to Christ. If we allow selfish ambitions to dominate our way of life, then those without Christ will not be able to see what He has done for us. We ourselves may never know the specific purpose of many of these experiences.
The gospel, by its nature, brings affliction to the one who delivers it. Anyone who gives themselves to ministry will face challenges. Ministry is no bed of roses. No doubt there are many compensations and blessings in ministry, but it will have its problems.