Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:1-35
1 Peter 2:21-24
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Example—copy, outline of letter to copy to teach to write. Christ suffered, we will too if we follow Him. Innocent suffering, when you are wronged unfairly is when you get to show reality of cross in your life. Rest in the fact that God will sort it out. Leads to doing what is right, which is true freedom, much less burden.
1 Corinthians 1:17-19
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Wisdom of words—philosophical reasoning, oratorical fancy. The more slicked up with human wisdom we make it, the less we trust the power of the Cross. Will people trust your slickness or the cross?
One cross; two responses—foolishness or power.
1 Corinthians 1:20-21
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Humanistic wise guys think they know it all, God will make them look foolish. All their trumped up wisdom will add up to nothing. You can’t know God simply by human reasoning; He had to reveal things. He uses preaching to convey His message, which seems really dumb!
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Jews were told to look for signs/miracles. Gentiles get caught up in philosophy and arguing. A dead Messiah was neither! Jews stumble; Greeks think it’s dumb. Paul does not preach what Jews or Gentiles want to hear!
But to those with faith, the cross is power, wisdom, and the ultimate sign.
The Gospel is the foolishness of God! The Cross is the weakness of God! Yet herein lies the power of God!
Galatians 5:11—the offense of the cross
Colossians 1:20-24—preach the stupid thing cuz it’s the only answer
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:
Our wicked works alienate us from God; our alienation from God makes us do wicked works. But Christ through His cross brings us into peace with God. Deals with the wicked works and makes us holy.
Suffering for the Gospel is inherent to the Gospel. People will be offended and think you are stupid. But gladly take that response if it means the power of the Gospel has saved you.
Suffering for the greatest news ever is no problem for Paul.
The Gospel will stir up hostility. You will bear the brunt if you bring it up. But it’s the only answer, and a privilege to be identified with Christ’s work.