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Power of the Cross

January 28, 2020

Scripture 1 Corinthians 1:10–18

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:17-18 NRSV

The apostle Paul wrote a series of letters to the church in Corinth. This was remarkable, because the city of Corinth in its day was something of a combination of cities in the United States: Philadelphia, Miami, and Las Vegas. Despite such rowdy and raucous surroundings, this was where the early church found a home in the mainland of modern Europe. Paul knew the congregation very well, having served with them for two or three years. And, in these verses from 1 Corinthians, he is disappointed to hear of quarrels and arguments among these early believers.

Paul wrote a response to their concerns and gave them, and us today, a profound statement that covers his intention for this letter and its instruction to everyone. After his usual grace-filled greeting, Paul jumped into a formal argument which ended with the final summary statement in our scripture verses. It remains a strong message: The power of the cross is above everything.

The general public in Corinth would be familiar with the cross as the means of dreadful execution of murderers and those who committed treason against the power of Rome. But, for those who followed Christ the cross was the symbol of the death of Christ, but also the resurrection of Jesus from the dead through the power of Almighty God. So, as Paul stated so clearly the cross is least understood by nonbelievers. But, the cross represents the courage and hope of those who follow Christ: The faith they maintain in Him and in God. The cross is intended to strengthen and guide those who do believe.

Being the leader that he was, Paul was bringing up the basis for belief for all concerned: the power of God, which includes the sovereignty of God.

For, God is Ruler of All.

Stan Reid


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