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1 Corinthians 1

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1 Corinthians 1:18-31

[18] 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. [19] For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." [20] Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? [21] For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. [22] Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, [23] but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, [24] but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, C! hrist the power of God and the wisdom of God. [25] For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. [26] Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. [27] But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. [28] He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, [29] so that no one may boast before him. [30] It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. [31] Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast i! n the Lord."

NIV

REFLECT
What is the essence of Paul's preaching?

One of the most controversial films of recent years was The Passion of the Christ. Whatever you think of it, it meant the crucifixion of Jesus was discussed in unexpected places. Some objected to the violence. Others claimed it was anti-Semitic. One reviewer said it left him no clearer about what Jesus' death did for him. If he's right, that's quite a weakness.

The cross has always been controversial. If it was seen as foolish then (18), don't be surprised if it still is today. For the Messiah to be crucified was literally a scandal - "stumbling block" (23) - to the Jews. To them, anyone who was crucified was cursed. The Greeks wanted wisdom but it had to fit their preconceived ideas. No wonder they couldn't grasp the meaning of the cross. Today, the message that the death of God's Son can bring us forgiveness and life is just as offensive or foolish as it was then. Don't worry if that leaves you feeling inadequate when sharing your faith. That's just the point. When Jesus died, God turned things upside down. The world's salvation came through the utter weakness and death of the Messiah. And today, the upside-down Kingdom continues its work through ordinary people just like us (26, 27).

APPLY
How do people I know see the Gospel as "foolishness"? How do I respond to people like that? Do I feel adequate to share and defend what I believe? If not, what can and will I do to be better equipped to share the Gospel?

PRAY
Lord Jesus, though it might seem foolish to some, I'm so glad that Your death on the cross brought me life.

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