Tuesday

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

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 Tuesday 7 March 2017

Psalm: Psalm 119:17-32


Background

The city of Corinth contained many nationalities and beliefs,but the two that caused most problems for the Christians were theJews and Greeks. Much of this was because many Christians had theirroots in either of those two communities and may still have hadrelations or friends there. So they were subject to argument andridicule about their new found faith and being called fools fortaking on the Christian way of life.

To the Jews the problem of belief in Jesus was mainly because hewas not the kind of Messiah they had been expecting. In spite ofsome of their prophecies that he would be a suffering servant (egIsaiah 52:13 - 53:12), many of them stillexpected a spectacular appearance with wonders and miracles, likesome special effects in a Hollywood film. They also found itimpossible to cope with the idea of their Messiah being crucified.Surely, the cross was a sign of defeat, not of triumph.

Most Greeks took a completely different view. They were far moreinterested in intellectual pursuits and being able to put wordstogether in ways that would display their knowledge and wisdom.They even had speech competitions in the original Olympic Games.They also believed in gods who were totally separate from humansand had no interest in the welfare, or problems, of the people wholived on earth. To them the idea of a God who would come and liveamong them was foolishness in the extreme.

The followers of Jesus knew that he had lived on earth, shownthem the true nature of God and had suffered and died to prove thatGod's love could live on even after death. Yet they werecontinually being faced with mockery and scorn.

Paul's words were written to encourage them to keep on believingin the wisdom of God. So there is one big question.

When worldly wisdom and superior knowledge
and intellectual snobbery and informed atheism
have died the death of earthly flesh and fragile brain,
will God be quietly weeping over the waste,
even as the cross blazes out its triumphant foolishness?


To Ponder

  • How do you cope with people who mock your faith?
  • What does the cross mean to you? And why?
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