#DailyDevotion The Cross Is Strange To Those Unbelieving
1Co 1:18-25 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (19) For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” (20) Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (21) For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. (22) 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. (25) For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
It is rather odd that we glory in an object like a cross. It is an emblem of suffering, pain and death. It is an object upon which criminals were executed. You could just as well be wearing a noose around your neck. Yet it is this instrument which the Creator chose as the instrument of our salvation. It was from a tree that our ruin happened. It would be from the wood of a tree that our redemption would occur.
So Paul says the wood of the cross is folly to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For those who do not believe it could not be a stranger thing than seeing people wearing emblems of such a gruesome object. Yet we preach that from that object God has saved mankind and redeemed the cosmos. It makes no sense to whom it has not been revealed in their heart of hearts. It is crazy. Yet God’s foolishness is wiser than their wisest thoughts.
Their refusal to believe the good news of the cross will be shown to be their folly. They are stuck in world of thought called transactionalism. You know it as “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Yet, God in his wisdom offers to the world, to you, this gift, a free gift, unconditionally, without strings. This gift is eternal life, a resurrection to immortality, his kingdom, everlasting joy, a new world, his righteousness, his glory, his fatherhood. Now it is true, it wasn’t free. It costs Jesus his life on the cross. The only transaction was between the Father and the Son. “You die for them, pay their penalty, suffer their consequence of their sin, iniquity and guilty and everything you have will be theirs.” What a transaction! This is why Good Friday is Good! On that day, on the altar of the cross, that instrument upon which rebels were executed, we who rebelled against our Maker and Father, our rebellion was punished upon Jesus, the Son of God. Now what is his is ours as what was ours became his.
This cross is the wisdom and power of God. It is what we Christians glorify in. Those who continue in rebellion think this is foolishness. Those who demand justice and what they deserve think it is weakness. But to those who receive the benefits of the cross it is our glory and hope, power and wisdom.
All merciful God, in your great wisdom and might, you sent your only begotten Son to die upon the cross, taking our punishment for us. Grant that we may believe this good news and receive all the benefits of the cross. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.