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The message of Christ – offensive and nonsensical

July 2, 2020

Long ago, during the reign of the Roman empire, the city of Corinth was famous for it’s people’s obsession with intellect, culture and their desire for knowledge.

They loved listening to the latest motivational talks, inspirational speeches, and they enjoyed listening to debates.

The Greeks living in that city prided themselves in their wisdom and their obsession with social and intellectual advancement.

Corinth was also a destination for traveling professional orators who charged a fee for attendance at their entertaining rhetorical displays and advised people on how to advance socially.

In that city, were also Jews, who believed that the great promised Messiah, a mighty warrior, would come and deliver their people from the Roman oppression. They believed that God would make a way for them through strength and brute force.

The city of Corinth had their eyes and reliance set on both – brains and brawn.

It is in this city, that an apostle named Paul came to preach the Gospel of a man who was crucified in order to absorb the punishment of the sins of all people everywhere.

And to this, most of the city would’ve responded, “eh?”

Paul’s proclamation and manner of delivering the news wasn’t the most attractive. It certainly did not match the standards of the orators that visited Corinth.

Months later, he would write to them – “And I, when I came to you, brothers,  did not come proclaiming to you  the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.” – 1 Corinthians 2:1

He himself recognized that his manner of speech was sub par compared to the speakers of that day.

And his message? Pfft. It was nonsensical to the ears of the Greek.

What was this message about a crucified man? Faith in this man’s death; and what more – his resurrection, his RESURRECTION, would mean life everlasting for the believer?

Rising from the dead? Was Paul serious?

Not only was this message nonsensical to the Greeks, but it was also offensive to the Jews.

A crucified Messiah? Really? While they waited for a victorious, powerful leader, here was Paul preaching about a man who had been humiliated, tortured, and destroyed by their enemies. And he claimed that this crucified man, this Jesus, is the Messiah?

But Paul knew the truth. In his spirit, he understood. And as he preached, people did believe. People followed.

Because he wasn’t preaching human wisdom. No! And he wasn’t preaching human strength.

He knew the foundation of his message.

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” – Zechariah 4:6

And God’s Spirit made a way for people to believe.

God’s Spirit does the same today.

In our cities, in the lives of those around us – people who rely on strength, or intellect.

God steps in to shatter our way of thinking.

And He doesn’t use the strongest or wisest people to accomplish this either. He uses the broken, the outcast…the ones who the world considers foolish and weak.

And here’s why that’s good news.

Because it means that He will use you.

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 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. - 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

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