1 Corinthians 1:18-31 – Preaching the Foolishness of the Cross
Do you feel embarrassed about the Christian message? Are you embarrassed about the exclusive claims that Christ is the only way to heaven? Do you cringe when you have to sound ‘cruel’ by affirming that everyone is a totally depraved sinner? Do you drop your voice when you say that homosexual lust is a sin and homosexual marriage is an impossibility? Do you leave out quoting the Bible in your conversations because of how people today think of God’s word? Have you ever felt tempted to rethink some traditional Christian beliefs on things like hell, the inspiration of Scripture, humanity as male and female because of the pressure to be politically correct? Then you are able to sympathise with the Corinthians in the first century.
If I were to tell you that an Afghan shepherd who had been shot down and killed by an American bullet, had risen from the dead and was proclaimed the Saviour of the world, you would think it a laughable and ridiculous notion. That is what the world first thought and still thinks of the carpenter from Nazareth, who lived in an occupied country and who was killed by the authorities. However the message of the cross was not only rejected because the saviour did not come from Rome, or lead an army, many rejected Jesus because he did not fit into the preconceived ideas of what they felt a saviour should be like and what he save them from. The Corinthian Church had received the message of Jesus as their sin bearer happily, but now they were acting a little like the seed that was sown in shallow ground, when persecution, probably in the form of social disapproval, rained down they were very willing for some false teachers to make the Christian religion look more respectable. As we enter into this section of 1 Corinthians we are going to see Paul taking on those who are trying to present Jesus as just another philosophy, another higher wisdom that many of the religious teachers and philosophers taught.