1 Corinthians 1:18-25 –For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1: 23 – “but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,”
The only wise God, decided in eternity past, before the foundations of the earth, that He would redeem man, through a most unusual way. The cross. Today the message of the cross deserves a special revisit and hopefully a fresh apprehension. Many have had the opportunity to review the events of the cross and more precisely the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and some how fail to see the message and dismiss it as a mere event in history, that has no real significance in human destiny. What a tragedy!
In our text today, God clearly had an agenda in the message of the cross, apart from it being the only message through which man can be saved (because until a man acquiesces at the cross, and completely surrenders himself, he can never really accept the salvation God provides), God also clearly intends to employ the message of the cross to destroy or dismantle the wisdom of the wise and thwart the discernment of the discerning.
The message of the cross, the message that Jesus Christ, the Righteous, the sinless, the holy, the pure and the Son of God was crucified and died this ignoble way, as a substitute for man, is a stumbling block to the Jews. The Jews always look for a sign. They could not understand the event or get past the fact that the Messiah would die on a cross. For them this was unthinkable. It was not what they anticipated.
They were looking for a sign. A wonder. An act of power. They wanted a Messiah that would ride into town Cavalry style, overthrow the Romans, set up His throne and reign over them. They could not see God’s wisdom of God or the sign and wonder of God. They could not understand that instead of a cavalry, it was Calvary. They missed the ultimate act of God’s power, which is to humble himself to the point of death, even the death of a cross.
The Greeks on the other hand, were philosophical and logical and always looked to the power of reason to relate to anything. So the cross was just simple foolishness to them. In fact the word they used was moronic. It did not make sense, so they just laughed at the thought of salvation coming through a condemned man who could not save himself. I can just imagine some high intellectual saying words like, absurd, preposterous, ludicrous, laughable, comical, and foolish. But the joke was really on them, as they could not understand the wisdom of God.
At the centre of the message of the cross is this simple fact; man has sinned and become a condemned, and there is no way man can make himself good ever again, man is completely depraved in his heart and mind, so it would take an intervention of God to redeem and save man. God chose to do this by entering the world of man as man, then going to the cross to suffer the punishment and die the death apportioned for man, so that in His just way, He can also grant man His forgiveness and His righteousness, since He has also borne their sins and sinfulness and taken the full weight of the punishment and judgement man deserved.
This is not the human rational way of solving problems. Yet it is a supreme demonstration of the superiority of God’s wisdom. There fore, if one is to become wise, one has to become a fool. And if one thinks himself wise, then he is actually a fool. Because, the message of the cross is both the power of God and the wisdom of God.
We all must come to the place, where we see with our naked eyes, our sheer hopelessness and helplessness, we must agree that we cannot save ourselves and we can never attain the righteousness of God by our own efforts and then this reality must force us to drop down on our knees, abandon all our self saving plans and look at the crucified Christ and somehow submit and trust that what He did, He did for you and I, and, recognise that that is all that is needed, then stretch out our hands and fully accept God’s provision of God’s grace and mercy and ask for the full provision of this vicarious act to be released to us. Only then can you my friend be saved and redeemed. Only then can you become wise. Only then can you understand and see the sign.
Let’Pray: Father God, words fail me at this time as I once again look upon the cross of Jesus Christ and behold the incredible, incandescent light that shines from it. I am simply in awe of your wisdom and I once again submit myself to You and Your mercy. And I shout Lord, I believe. I believe that Jesus Christ came in the flesh as man and died on the cross for me. I believe that He died my death and through His death He released His life to me. I believe He rose from the dead. I believe He justified me by His resurrection. I believe my sins are forgiven and wiped away by His shed blood. I believe He has made me a child of God. I believe Lord and I thank You so much. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.