1 Corinthians 1:18-25
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. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength NIV).
Here is the key issue. The message of the cross is the message of the Jesus Christ crucified (1:23).
Think of a striking contrast. If Christians would preach a certain type of Jesus, the world would be content to accept him, just as they politely accept other famous religious leaders. “Jesus the social worker” would be applauded for his efforts. “Jesus the morality teacher” would be remembered for suggesting a gentler way of life amid the world’s unceasing hatred. “Jesus the therapist” would be consulted when the headache or heartache refuse to go away. Fake “Jesuses” are easily accepted (2 Corinthians 11:4). Many years ago, Francis Schaeffer warned, “Increasingly over the last few years the word ‘Jesus’, separated from the content of the Scriptures, has become the enemy of the Jesus of history, the Jesus who died and rose and who is coming again and who is the eternal Son of God. So let us take care” (Escape From Reason, p. 79).
But people reject the Lord Jesus Christ who really lived among people. He is a stumbling block to the Jews. If they still have any concept of a coming Messiah, Jesus didn’t and doesn’t agree with what their ideas of what the Messiah should be. In contrast Jesus is foolishness to the Gentiles. They think, “Wow, he really suffered, that’s tragic; but how can a man dying on a cross do anything for me?”
When we proclaim Jesus Christ and his saving work on the cross, then and only then are we telling God’s message—the good news.
Focus on the person of Christ. Jesus Christ is the Savior that people need. He is able to rescue them from the ruin and sorrow that comes from our sinful condition. The identity and character of Jesus are important. The question is not, “What good can the death of a man 2,000 years ago do for me?” Instead, the question is, “Who died on the cross and what did his death accomplish?” The answer is that the One who died is both Son of God and perfect man. His deity gives power to his work and his humanity makes him an acceptable substitute for us humans.
Focus on his saving work. Jesus became a curse for us (Galatians 3:10-13). Jesus satisfied God’s wrath that was against us (Romans 3:23-26). And so he reconciled us to God (Romans 5:6-11).
In the message of the cross, we can hear the great wisdom of God. Human wisdom deals only with the surface aspects of humanity’s problem. People approach humanity’s problems like throwing some asphalt in the pothole when the road needs rebuilt. But in Jesus Christ we can see how God in his wisdom provided a Rescuer who could truly solve mankind’s greatest problem at its deepest core.
The way of salvation is to change your mind about Christ and trust in him as your Savior. Why should you continue in your life the way that you are going? It is the way to destruction (1:18a, 19); it is a way that cannot possibly succeed (1:25). Do not waste your life. When you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and commit your eternal destiny to him, you will find God’s power for salvation. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today.
Grace and peace, David