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  • Writer's pictureOlufunmilayo Adekusibe

THE CROSS IS FOOLISHNESS TO THOSE WHO ARE DYING


 

Today’s Reading:

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (18)

For the Word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God”. (v.18)

 



Paul turns his attention to the cross of Christ. The cross raises issues for both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles). Corinth is a Greek city but has a substantial Jewish population. While living in Corinth, Paul worked among both Jews and Greeks, and both were represented in the Corinthian Church. The cross of Christ seemed like foolishness both to the Jews, who expected a powerful Messiah—and to the Greeks, who placed a high value on human wisdom (Greek: sophia). To the Jews, the cross appeared to be weakness, not strength. To the Greeks, the cross appeared to be foolishness, not wisdom. “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying” This verse introduces the rest of this chapter, where Paul contrasts the wisdom of the world (human wisdom) with the wisdom of God, which finds its highest expression in the apparent foolishness of the cross of Christ. For those who pride themselves on their own wisdom, the cross appears to be foolishness—nonsense. Why would God send his Son to die on a cross? By the standards of human wisdom, it makes no sense! But human wisdom, attractive as it might seem on the surface, has no saving power. No matter how intelligent they might be, people who depend on human wisdom alone are perishing. They are like people whose ship has gone down in the middle of a great ocean. Even if they have Olympic swimming skills, those people would have no hope of reaching the shore on their own. They need a lifeboat or, better yet, a ship to save them. The ultimate foolishness for such people would be to refuse help from a rescue vessel.

“but to us who are saved, it is the power of God” Those of us who are being saved have acknowledged our powerlessness and accepted God’s power. We understand that we cannot defeat the sin that threatens to dominate our lives, and so we have learned to trust in the grace of God. That grace was manifested most fully at the cross of Christ, where Christ not only prayed that God would forgive those who crucified him but also opened the door to forgiveness for all who would come to believe in him. Thus, the cross, which seems like foolishness to those who are steeped in human wisdom, is really the instrument of salvation for us who are being saved.


“For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing’“. Corinth is Greek, and the ancient Greeks are proud of their wisdom and their great philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The word philosophy comes from two Greek words, phileo, which means “to love” and sophia, which means “wisdom.” The Greeks love wisdom and pride themselves on their knowledge and understanding. But Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah to tell the Corinthian church that God will “destroy the wisdom of the wise” and thwart the discernment of the discerning. The quotation comes from Isaiah 29:14b, which says: “the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the understanding of their prudent men will be hidden.” Human wisdom (sophia) and discernment (synesis—understanding) have their roots in disciplines such as history and science. Such disciplines promise to enlighten us so that our future will be brighter than our past.


“it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe”. God, in His wisdom, chose to reveal himself, not through human wisdom, but through the apparent foolishness of preaching. The preaching of the New Testament can be summarized as the “proclamation of the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus that led to the evaluation of His person as both Lord and Christ, (confronting) man with the necessity of repentance and (promising) the forgiveness of sins”. The preaching, therefore, is God-given rather than the product of human effort or wisdom. The preaching is centered on the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. It is by those actions that God has chosen to redeem the world.


The cross of Christ seems like foolishness to those who refuse to believe. Why would God send his Son to die on a cross? Why not send him as the head of a mighty army? Why not send him with magical powers to set everything straight? The answer, of course, is that God wants us to be free to choose.

OLAJIDE OGUNFUWA


 

Prayer:

  1. I will not refuse help from the rescuing vessel, but rather cry out unto the saving power of Jesus Christ our Lord.

  2. I acknowledge my powerlessness and accept God’s power to save and deliver from the power of sin in Jesus’ name.

  3. God destroy the wisdom of the wise and thwart the discernment of the discerning people in Jesus’ name.

  4. Father let the power of resurrection begin to manifest in the lives of all our spiritual leaders in Jesus’ name.

  5. Every spirit of foolishness is destroyed over our country Nigeria. in Jesus’ name.


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