Wednesday 11 February 2015

Bible Book:
1 Corinthians

"We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (vv. 23-24)

1 Corinthians 1:20-31 Wednesday 11 February 2015

Psalm: Psalm 106:43-48


Having reprimanded the Corinthian Christians for their divisions(see yesterday's passage), Paul develops histhoughts and takes a more outward-facing perspective. He isfollowing on from his admission that Christ sent him to proclaimthe gospel (1 Corinthians 1:17).

And, for Paul, the gospel (the good news of Jesus) centred onthe cross and Christ crucified. After 2,000 years of history, itcan be easy to forget, or not even to be aware, of how radical thecross is.

For the many of the Jewish people at that time, it wasincredible that the one God has especially chosen - God's son,Jesus - should be allowed to die on a cross. Rather than provingthat Jesus was God's son it did the opposite and became theultimate stumbling block.

For the Greeks it seems as if the death of Jesus on the crosswas complete foolishness. The Greeks believed that God lacked theability to feel emotion or compassion - people were theirplaythings. Yet here was God prepared to 'become flesh and liveamong us' (John 1:14), and so in humanity to experiencejoy and pain (ie emotions). Not only that, but to undergo sufferingsuffering - that was a step too far for their conprehension. It wasa nonsense - or foolishness.

But what did was to turn the world upside down - "But Godchose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chosewhat is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things thatare not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presenceof God" (vv. 27-29).

To Ponder

  • How does God turn your world upside down?
  • What does it mean to you to "boast in the Lord" (v. 31)?
  • If someone asked what does the cross mean to you, what wouldyou say?

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