“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” I Corinthians 2:1-2
What if, as a Christian, your greatest desire for your unsaved family, friends, and neighbors was “to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified!” WOW! Paul’s mission in life was the salvation of the lost! That was his life’s message. To the point, Paul says in Romans 9, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren (Jewish nation), my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and temple service and the promises…” Romans 9:3-4.
Corinth was a wealthy and yet wicked city. The name “Corinthian” had come to mean, “to practice fornication.” Paul knew that only the transforming power of the message of the Cross presented in its purest form, without human cleverness or compromise attached, had the power to transform a heart for the Kingdom of God! And so, it is today! Paul to Timothy, “…preach the word; be ready in season, and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” 2 Timothy :2
In the power of the love of Christ made evident at the cross!
The Foolishness of the Cross Collides with the Wisdom of the World
“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” I Corinthians 1:21
God never does things the way the world does things! As a matter of fact, God tells us that to be in love with the world is to be against Him; to be opponents of the cross of Christ (See I John 2:15-17 and Ephesians 2:11-16). And Paul tells us in today’s verse that no one (Jew or Gentile), can ever come to know God through a personal relationship with His Son via the world’s wisdom. As a matter of truth, and quite surprising to the world system, Paul tells us that God is pleased by the preaching of the message of the cross, which is both foolishness to the world system while at the same time enriched with His power to save those who are lost!
Wow! That means, that God uses those who would commonly be viewed as foolish, weak, and of no consequence to bring His message of salvation. Paul himself told the Corinthian Christians that he was not an eloquent speaker or a good debater, but what He did know is that God had called Him to preach the Good News of the message of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world!
How about you? Who has God sent your way to speak His message of love, forgiveness, and healing to your heart and life? “…but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called (Christians), both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” I Corinthians 1:23-24. Are you seeking to follow and obey Him even when the world considers you foolish to do so, or are you seeking man’s wisdom rather than that of God?
The Structure of the Cross
“For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life, and not only this, be we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”
“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
2 Corinthians 5:18
No matter if you wear a cross as costume jewelry or as a symbol of your Christianity; or you see a cross constructed of wood, steel, or plastic positioned in or outside a church building. The fact is, the cross was first God’s idea. Being God, He knew before the creation of the world, that mankind would sin against Him so He prepared a way before Jesus even came to earth, God born in flesh in a manger. And yes, even before He created the stars and the planets, God made a way to crush the authority of the enemy (see Genesis 3:15) and bring us back to Himself, namely the cross!
The design of the cross is both vertical and horizontal. It was, and is the way that sinful man and woman are reconciled (changed from being enemies of God through sin, to the friends of God and family through new spiritual birth in Christ)! AND-Paul says that because of God’s reconciling us to Himself, therefore, we are to be messengers of reconciliation. In other words, we are to lift-up Jesus to our unsaved family and friends as the way as Max Lucado says, “That which has been unraveled can now become re-stitched = reconciled!”
By God’s Design-Psalm 103:10-12!
Why Jesus Came into the World
“Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’ John 18:37-38
Yes! Jesus came into the world to open the one true way for fallen humanity to be in right and restored relationship with God the Father (See John 3:16, Matthew 1:20-21, Acts 4:12 and I Timothy 1:15). But notice what Jesus said to Pilate in the back room of the Roman headquarters called the Praetorium located in Jerusalem when He was on trial prior to His crucifixion. Jesus told Pilate that He had come into the world “to bear witness to the truth.” That’s staggering!
In a world, and perhaps in your life, there are those who are struggling with what is true—what is real! Perhaps someone you know has been deceived by the enemy and is currently living a life of frustration and confusion. Jesus Christ was not just a good man who did a lot of good things and then, that was it! The Bible says that God has revealed to us His Son, our Redeemer, Savior, and living Lord. In a world of imposters, the historical and raised Son of God is to be the object of your faith and mine! That’s reality! Place Jesus on the throne of your heart today! Listen to Him! He will never mislead or forsake you! His promises are true and never-changing! (Read more about Jesus and Pilate’s conversation in John 18:28-40).