“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…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. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: A stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles. But, to those who are called both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-24 (changes in punctuation by author)
Paul is getting right to a point in the greeting to the Church at Corinth. Already Paul is addressing a principle among them: Division. This principle will be addressed on many fronts and subjects throughout this Letter. But Paul will continually point us at the Cross, remind us of the Gospel, and remind us that no matter what we are about and have a point of view about-the Cross is the Wisdom and Power of God.
“The word of the Cross is folly…” To the world, to any person this is dumber than a box of rocks. God became Man while still staying God. This Man (who is God) submitted himself to a horrible death. Most folks could stop right here and say “Sacrifice. Martyr. Statement against his times. I admire that-I couldn’t do it but what a guy!” He came back from the dead? Inconceivable! (Like this Princess Bride reference?) The point is that a natural man doesn’t get the Cross-What good did it do? What good does it do? What does it do for me? Why do I need to know and understand this? And so the natural man’s attitude is the Cross equals Foolishness because the benefits are not right out in front.
There are times however that I succumb to the foolishness attitude as well. Why is that? The Gospel is sooo much easier to talk about when I don’t have to throw that speed bump of “Jesus died for your sin-your real sin, not just that theoretical sin.” A nifty sign, miraculous if I can get one, makes the message easier to hook those folks in. Or wisdom: Jesus died for you is a reasonable theory to get you better; you can “smart” your way into salvation-do you know enough? In like Flynn.
But preaching the Cross: all of it, not skipping over the “uncomfortable” parts is preaching the Power of God (says so, read above). It is preaching the Wisdom of God. God, being way smarter than me, says so. With that in mind, how do I respond if I want to experience the Power and Wisdom of God?
1) Learn about the Gospel-all of it. Salvation is part of the Gospel, so is condemnation-for both show the Justice, Holiness and Love of God toward men.
2) Learn deeply about the impact the Gospel has for me; in every part of my life. Pray the Gospel.
3) Practice speaking about the Gospel. In the mirror; during your commute as Prayer; with your spouse and family; with your friends-and ultimately with strangers.
Lord God, Father: Having You open the eyes of my heart to the Gospel is more wonderful than I can express-at least express adequately to the Wonder of the Cross. As you have set the objective of learning how to pray without ceasing in front of me, please help me to reflect frequently and to think deeply about the Gospel and every facet of that Miraculous Jewel. Hear my prayer, O God. AMEN