“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.”
First Corinthians 1:18
The truths surrounding Christ’s cross are both historical and theological. Said most bluntly: Christ’s death at Calvary happened, and it matters. The “word of the cross” directly concerns the eternal destiny of every human being. Paul predicts that some will write off the good news as foolishness, responding in some form of “who cares what happened in some dingy place outside Jerusalem?”
You and I better care. The same gospel that many write off as folly ought to mean EVERYTHING to us! To borrow Paul’s exact language, we are “being saved” by it. And to steal from Fanny Crosby’s hymn, we have a “blessed assurance” here and now, but we also look forward to the completion of our salvation – which will mean dwelling in God’s presence forever and ever!
Why would anyone write off the message of the cross? Why would the world reject so hopeful a message?
1. It seems too simple to be of value.
Paul goes on to mention Jews and Greeks. Everyone seems to think that he or she is smarter than the old-fashioned gospel.
2. It’s inherently offensive.
Gross, bloody, gory. A brutal Roman execution reserved for the lowest of the low. Generally inappropriate for polite dinner conversation.
3. It seems like a weak message.
To the unbeliever, this strange “word of the cross” makes God look rather small. If this were God’s Son – if this were God the Son – couldn’t the M
aker of heaven and earth have stopped this from happening?
By contrast, you and I are invigorated by the same message! The Christian life can be very difficult at times, but we don’t grow perpetually discouraged because the gospel is still the best news we’ve ever heard! Just remembering those historical and theological realities re-energizes us at the very core of who we are!
We’re a bunch of flawed Abraham’s and cheating Jacob’s and imprisoned Joseph’s and stuttering Moses’s and adulterous David’s and uneducated fishermen and educated albeit murderous Paul’s. All saved by Christ. Made something of value by Christ. And that through His wonderful cross.
What seems to many like the ultimate ridiculousness and vulnerability is …
Our song of hope!
God’s strength magnified through our weakness!
The weak shaming the strong!
The low and the despised – like a “nothing” who would hang on a vile cross for crimes He never committed – somehow becoming a prize of eternal value!
Our sole accolade!
All of God!
All of Christ!
First Baptist Paducah, as we move into the season of Resurrection, will you be strange with me? Will you delight in a gospel so strangely wonderful? Will you incline your ear to hear the sound of a different Drummer, and dance to a tune that cheers the hearts of all who are Christ’s by grace?