1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Tuesday, 28 September 2021
“…but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” -1 Corinthians 1:23-24
In this epistle, Apostle Paul addresses several problems the Corinth church faced—he not only answers certain queries on Christian doctrines but also exhorts them how to pursue and conduct themselves in the Christian life.
In our text today Paul states: "but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (V.23-24). The Message of salvation or the preaching of Christ and the cross is the only way to save the souls of men - "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12). From the key verse, we can see three groups' responses while preaching CHRIST CRUCIFIED—they are Jews, Greeks and God's called people.
Stumbling block to Jews
From Isaiah 8:14-15, as the fulfillment of prophecy, he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken. The Jews stumbled in Christ, in the way of their non-acceptance of His birth and parentage, His knowledge and teachings, His miracles and work, His way of approach and lifestyle, His companions and followers, His suffering and death; they couldn't acknowledge the redemption through the Lamb of God. Apostle Peter testifies: "let it be known to all of you that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead- This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone." (Acts 4:10-11). They stumbled because they thought the Messiah would deliver them from the Romans as a worldly prince or a mighty conqueror. Even today, many are unable to accept Him as Lord; instead, their expectation of Him is different—for some He is a healer, for several He is a finance provider, for a number of people He is a reason to celebrate festivals….so on and so forth.
Foolishness to Greeks
These knowledge-bearers were unable to acknowledge the way of salvation through the CRUCIFIED CHRIST. In their worldly knowledge, they couldn't comprehend that heavenly riches can be received by Him; that Eternal life can be received through faith in Him. They were unable to accept the salvation of mankind freely through His death and resurrection and unable to even think that justification can be received without any works. In our world too, those with scientific knowledge questions the existence of God; the answer to them— is us bearing the witness of Christ Crucified.
God's called people (including Jews and Greeks)
For the one who is called by God and has acknowledged Him— Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. Isaiah prophesied the master plan of God through the Messiah: "Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand" (Isaiah 53:10) The Gospel has tremendous power to change human lives and still continues to do so.
As seen above, after hearing the gospel many stumble and many seek the knowledge of the world to understand the same. As written, "…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." (1Cor. 1:21). To which group will you belong?
The simplicity of the gospel gives what the complexity of human wisdom promises but never delivers. ~ John MacArthur