We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God – 1 Corinthians 1:23-24
What was the message that the apostles preached? Was it a “do your best” message? Was it a “prosperity gospel?” Was it a call to “speak to your problems” or proclaim self-affirmations? No, not even close!
The message that the apostles preached was a message of a death … the most brutal death anyone has ever suffered, or will ever suffer. Their message was Christ crucified.
Why did they preach this? Because as all of Scripture clearly reveals, it was the crucifixion of Christ which put away our sin and provided for us the righteousness we needed for salvation.
To the Jews this message was a stumbling block. It was offensive to think all their good works, all their prayers, all their obedience to the Mosaic Law could not save them. And they were especially offended to hear that they had to trust in this lowly Jesus of Nazareth for their salvation.
To the Greeks this message was complete foolishness. Whereas the Jews were religious, the Greeks were intellectual. The whole idea of salvation through a crucified son of a carpenter was nonsense to their philosophical minds.
Yet, many Jews did believe the message of Christ crucified, and countless Greeks trusted Christ as their Savior. So what made the difference?
Some, Paul says, were called. To them Christ was more powerful than obedience to Mosaic Law, and far more wise than their best philosophies. To them Jesus was not offensive or foolish; He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Is the message of the cross offensive and foolish to you? Or is it powerful and wise and liberating?