The message of the cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV)

Read:  1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Consider: I’ve recently read Can Science Explain Every Everything?, by John Lennox.  His conclusion to the question set in the title of the book is:
Can science explain everything?  I think it is abundantly clear that it cannot.
Do science and Christianity mix?  Yes, I hope I have shown you that they mix very well.  We should not forget, however, that science, fascinating though it is, is simply the investigation of the world around us
(Lennox, 2019, p124-5).

The message of Easter is that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins and that his resurrection gives us confidence in the certainty of eternal life in the future.  So why, as Paul puts it, is the message of the cross foolishness to those who are perishing?

When considering the message of the cross it is clear that people may reject it for a number of reasons, that may include:

  1. Their understanding is that in the normal course of things dead bodies don’t come back to life.  As a result they reject Christianity because it seems ludicrous to them that it speaks of a person coming back to life.  Of course this ignores the true identity of the person who has come back to life.  If Jesus’ claim to be God’s Son is true, then it is clear that nothing is beyond God’s capabilities.   As Jesus himself said: With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26);
  2. They cannot accept that they can do nothing to attain their own salvation.  The world has taught them that if you want to achieve anything then it is up to your own efforts to achieve it.   Their reasoning is that Christ’s sacrificial death cannot possibly attain their salvation.  However, it says in Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast.

There may be other reasons preventing a person accepting the claims of Christ.  Things like pride, complete indifference to God and even wealth and status can blind a person to their real spiritual need.  Above all the cross speaks of man’s true spiritual condition and the need for salvation.  This is a message that many find unpalatable.

Later in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul says this:  The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14).  Science cannot explain everything because the physical and spiritual dimensions to life co-exist.  It is only when we consider both the physical and the spiritual that we can make sense of life.

 Pray:  Father, we pray for those who struggle with the message of the cross, as well as those who simply ignore it.  May you open their hearts and minds to understand the importance of this message.  May your Holy Spirit awaken a spiritual need in them, that can only be met through acceptance of Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.  Amen

Every blessing