THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS
It is very apparent to those who preach and teach the gospel of Christ that it does not have the same affect on every person who hears the message. There are some who mock or ridicule its content yet there are others who love and cherish every opportunity to listen to that old old story. The apostle Paul made that same observation with the audiences he came in contact with during New Testament times. Notice his words:
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, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 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. 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. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).
Paul said it was those who were perishing (dying lost) that considered the message of the cross foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18). He also revealed that the Greeks who sought after wisdom, when Christ crucified was preached to them, regarded this message as absurd (1 Cor. 1:22-23). Just as people during the days of the apostle thought that the preaching of gospel was foolish, we have a very similar problem today. The atheists do not even believe in God much less a message from a Supreme Being. They consider the Bible as nothing more that a book of fables. Even those who claim to be believers and yet reject the truth that is revealed must consider it nonsensical or else why do they refuse to believe and obey it?
The Jews requested a sign, yet when the message of the cross was preached to them, it became a stumbling block (1 Cor. 1:22-23). They had been given many signs from God during the days of our Lord and while the apostles were alive, but still they sought for more. When the scribes and Pharisees asked a sign from Jesus, He told them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here (Mat. 12:39-42). How many times do we hear people today say, If I could only see some sign from God, then I would believe? No they would be just like the Jews, wanting more and more. We have eyewitness testimony of all that the Lord has done written in His will. God deemed this sufficient (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:2-4).
There are a good number of people in the world today that still consider the message of the cross Gods power to save (1 Cor. 1:18). The apostle said, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe (1 Cor. 1:21). This is not to say that God considered His message foolishness, but what man considered foolish was really the Fathers power to save. To the sinner who is lost in sin and wanting to be saved by the grace of God, its a wonderful message of forgiveness through the blood of Christ. To the child of God who wants to please his Redeemer and go home to heaven, it is a book that is desired more than gold and is sweeter than honey (Ps. 19:7-10).
How do you regard the message of the cross? Is it foolishness to you or is it Gods power to save? Your attitude toward that message will determine where you spend eternity. May we all have an intense hunger and thirst for the word of God.
By Jimmy R. Mickells
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