January 30

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

“For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles…” vss. 22-23

For many decades the followers of Jesus struggled to put together a coherent testimony for what they had experienced. They were agreed that Jesus was the messiah, but their message didn’t make any sense to outsiders. The expectation had been that the messiah would be a triumphant, regal figure, one who would rally the masses and restore the kingdom to Israel. But Jesus had been crucified! His enemies had him arrested, put him on trial, and executed him as a common criminal. To call him the messiah seemed absurd, but that’s what Paul continued to do. For him this radical message had power and proclaimed God’s love in an unparalleled and profound fashion. For some the message was a stumbling block, for others it was foolishness, but in Paul’ estimation the cross was the real power of the gospel. We continue to struggle with the crucified Christ–some Christians have chosen to de-emphasize it in their proclamation. Some have gone so far as to remove crosses from their worship spaces–they say it reminds them of suffering and death and isn’t uplifting. But somehow, Christianity without the cross loses its impact. It’s the Christ who died that connects with our suffering and pain. God is with us in our dying. In the cross we are reminded that only the dead can be resurrected. 

Thought for the Day: How do I make sense of the crucified Christ?

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