Part 2 of Christ the Conqueror
Text: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
For this word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18).
We’ve heard about Jesus dying on a cross to save us so often that we think it sounds normal. If someone from the year A.D. 10 was transported to today, he would be shocked to see crosses on jewelry and in graveyards and people worshiping a man who had been crucified.
Folly or Power?
The apostle Paul writes, “We preach Christ crucified” (v. 23a). This message wasn’t well received. It was “a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (v. 23b). Why was the message of the cross a “stumbling block” to Jews? “Jews demand signs” (v. 22a). The Jews believed that crucifixion of Jesus was an unmistakable sign that he was not the Christ. Why was the message of the cross “folly to Gentiles”? “Greeks seek wisdom” (v. 22b). The Gentiles thought it was madness to put one’s trust in a man who had been executed as a criminal.
In people’s minds, the death of Jesus on a cross proved that he wasn’t a Saviour. It was obvious to them that the life of Jesus had ended in defeat, not victory. Paul says, “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing” (v. 18a). It still is. “But to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (v. 18b). In God’s plan, the death of Jesus on a cross provided salvation to all who believe.
Our Sin and God's Love
Why would God do this? It can’t be true, can it?
The message of the cross doesn’t make sense until we understand what it’s saying to us. The cross tells us something about ourselves and something about God. First, the cross tells us that we are more sinful than we want to believe. Second, the cross tells that God loves us more than we can imagine.
Sin was a great enemy. But it was no match for Jesus. He defeated sin through his death, and we can be saved from the consequences of our sin through trusting in him.
Why would God do this? Because our sin was great, but God’s love was greater.