Preaching Christ Crucified
Today’s reading: Romans 15:14-1 Corinthians 2:5
My selection: 1 Corinthians 1: 22-24
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
My reflections: Why do some respond to the preaching of the gospel of Christ while others do not? Paul indicates that, on a human level, Jews don’t “get” the gospel because they demand signs and Greeks don’t “get” the gospel because they seek wisdom. Apparently, the sign of a Man rising from the dead in human history does not suffice for the Jews and other sign seekers. On the other hand, for Greeks and other wisdom seekers, the simplicity and complexity of the Holy, Creator God taking on human flesh, living a perfect life, dying as an atoning sacrifice to satisfy His own just wrath, and rising from the dead for the salvation of all who believe is not profound enough to meet their expectations.
But the ultimate answer, as to why some people do respond in faith while others do not, is that the former are called and the latter are not. When God calls Jews, they get the gospel, that Christ is the power of God. When God calls Greeks (i.e. non-Jews of all kinds), they get the gospel, that Christ is the wisdom of God. God changes the natural skepticism of human hearts when He calls a man or woman to Himself.
My challenge: Are you tempted to try to downplay the centrality of Christ in winning those who want impressive signs or who want high-sounding wisdom? Do not be embarrassed by the gospel. Paul could argue philosophy with the best (Acts 17:16-34). He had performed signs and wonders (Romans 15:19), but that same Paul concluded that he was called to “preach Christ crucified.” The response of the hearers to his message would reveal whether they were called or not. Those who heard would either stumble or they would find Christ to be the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Preach Christ crucified. God will use the truth to draw His called, elect ones to Himself.
Tomorrow’s reading: 1 Corinthians 2:6-6:20