The Scandal of the Cross
March 7, 2023
When walking with Jesus is part and parcel of our lives, it's incredibly difficult to conceive of salvation as coming in any way except through the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ. But for the young Corinthian church, apparently even among believers, the message of a crucified Messiah was a "stumbling block"—or, even better, a “scandal”. The Jews--Gods chosen people, who knew his works and his ways—were scandalized by this kind of Savior.
Wasn't the Messiah expected to rule and reign with power? Wouldn’t he demonstrate the same signs and wonders that God had when he led his people out of Egypt? God's Anointed couldn’t possibly be someone whose ministry ended with an execution in the common criminal way, could he?
And for the Gentiles, the idea of a crucified Christ was madness. What kind of God gets himself killed by his enemies? How foolish. But scandalous as a Suffering Savior was, unpopular as it may have been, incomprehensible as it seemed even to those who were living out their Christian faith, Paul doesn’t back away from it. “We preach Christ crucified.” Paul doesn’t craft a clever marketing strategy to persuade the "wise" Greeks that God’s plan was wise in human terms. He doesn’t try to show to the Jews that the suffering of the cross was truly powerful in the way of those signs and wonders of old. No, this idea of a suffering savior, a God-Man who died a nasty death at the hands of unclean people is something Paul is eager to establish as up-front as an essential. “We preach Christ crucified.” And Christ crucified according to the wisdom and power of God is the reason for the Corinthians’—and our--very great hope.
Prayer: Crucified Christ, when familiarity blinds us to the astonishing power and wisdom of your cross, open our eyes to see you again in a new way. Amen.
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