“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which 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.”
(I Corinthians 1:23-25)
To the “wise of this world”, the idea that God would become a man and carry all of our sins on his shoulders as he died for us on the cross is pure foolishness. It seems absurd; something to be rejected by intelligent people in an enlightened age. Others stumble at this idea, being willing to accept a God who is exalted but unwilling to accept a God who humbled himself to suffer and die for their sins.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
There are many others who revere the cross in some religious, symbolic, or superstitious manner, but the true meaning of the cross of Jesus Christ is not found in such things.
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the central theme of God’s word. Far from being attractive to this sinful world, it is an offence that results in persecution of those who preach it in truth.
“And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.” (Galatians 5:11)
A pastor once said that when you preach the cross you had better be prepared to either duck or pucker (meaning that people will hate it so much that they will want to take a swing at you, or they will love it so much that they will want to kiss you!)
Why does the preaching of the cross bring such opposing reactions?
Any thinking person can plainly see that if God had to die this kind of death in our place in order to make us right with him, then there is something very wrong with us. By our nature this is exactly what we don’t want to believe. We want to see ourselves as good or at least capable of becoming good by our own efforts. The cross shatters all hope of this and declares that we are worthy of the same suffering and death that Christ took upon himself.
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”
(I Peter 3:18)
When a person accepts this truth and trusts Christ as their personal Saviour, believing that Christ purchased their eternal salvation on the cross, then the preaching of the cross becomes the most glorious thing in the world/
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
What is your reaction to the cross of Christ? Are you rejecting God’s clear message to you that you are a sinner in need of a Saviour? Or have you accepted what God has plainly declared unto you and trusted in his Son’s finished work on the cross? Your eternity depends upon your answer.
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
(I Corinthians 2:1-2)
May God bless you mightily today!