“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).
In a world which so often believes that “might makes right”, does the message of Jesus going to the cross make sense to you? Many have a hard time understanding that if God is all powerful, why did He not just destroy Satan so that man would not be tempted to sin? For so many it seems foolish that God would have to send His Son to die on a cross so that man could be saved from his sin.
In his letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul addresses Christians there because they were acting foolish as they were fighting among themselves and being divisive among the church (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). They were acting like the world instead of acting as followers of Christ. In correcting them, Paul reminds them of how as Christians we are to think and act differently from the world. The Christians at Corinth needed to be reminded of the basic message of the cross because they were struggling with putting too much glory in their fellow man, such as elevated one man above another (1 Corinthians 1:12) based on their abilities or on their eloquence (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:1, 4-5).
Paul reminds them it was through the message of the cross that God would save men: “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). However, to the world the message of the cross made no sense: “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:22-24). The Jews had expected the Messiah to deliver them from Roman oppression. Jesus became a stumbling block to them when He told them He was not going to do this. For the Greeks it was foolishness to think of someone dying for another person’s sins!
Why did God choose the cross of Jesus to save men instead of a plan that made more sense to men? “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). God choose the cross to save men so that no man may glory in His Presence!
The message of Jesus being crucified on the cross is hard for the world to understand. Paul wrote, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (1 Corinthians 1:26). Again he writes, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Today, I embrace the message of the cross. I will resist thinking like the world which has a hard time understanding the cross. I will strive to spiritually discern the wonderful message of the cross as it glorifies God and tells of His wonderful love for me!
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’ Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come--all are yours. And you are Christ's, and Christ is God's” (1 Corinthians 3:19-23).