The foolishness of the cross

by André Piet
January 26th, 2013

The resurrected Christ

Before Paul arrived in Corinth, he had stayed in Athens for a short while (Acts 18:1). Athens is the city par excellence which symbolizes philosophy. Paul's speech in the Center of that city was a confrontation with various philosophical schools. The Athenians had heard him about Jesus and Anastasis, that is to say, the resurrection (Acts 17:18). When Paul then speaks to them about their "unknown God", he tells them about the Man whom God raised from the dead. And with that statement, he was interrupted. Some mocked him, while others quasi-interested said: "We will hear you concerning this again".

In Athens, Paul did not speak about the cross, but about the crucified One: Him Who three days after His death on the cross, was resurrected by God. And with this message Paul then went to Corinth. He had literally and figuratively said goodbye to "Athens" and decided to know nothing else than "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1Cor.2:2). Generally, this statement is completely misunderstood. It is taken as if Paul, in the evangel that he brought, only spoke of Jesus on the cross, as is symbolized by the crucifix in Roman Catholic churches. But how can the death of someone (even a death on a cross!), be an evangel or a message of Good News?!? As Paul writes to the Corinthians:

Now if Christ has not been roused, for naught, consequently, is our heralding, and for naught is your faith.

In other words, the content of the preaching and of faith is …. the resurrected Christ!

Why then "the word of the cross"?

But why is this preaching of the resurrected Christ called "the word of the cross" (1Cor.1:18)? Because "the word of the cross" is a summary of the INCOMPREHENSION of the world! For the world, Christ, Whom Paul preached, is only the crucified One: for the Jewish Messianic-expectation a stumbling block, and for the Greek philosophy utter nonsense (1Cor.1:23). But for those who are the called (= have received ears to hear) the crucified Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1Cor.1:24). This refers to the resurrected Christ.

(1) The title "Christ" (= anointed) refers to the fact that He received the Spirit (= Life) and was raised from the dead (Acts 2:36).

(2) Christ's resurrection is the demonstration of "the power of God."

He was crucified out of weakness, nevertheless HE IS LIVING BY THE POWER OF GOD…

(3) Christ's resurrection is also the demonstration of "the wisdom of God"

Not one of the chief men of this eon knows (= the concealed wisdom of God; verse 7), for if they know, they would not crucify the Lord of glory.
-1Cor.2:8- (CV)

God's wisdom lies hidden, beyond the cross. The cross is the horizon of the world – it sees no further. But here God's wisdom begins. When the sealed stone was rolled away, three days later, the principalities and powers were openly put on display for what they are (Col.2:15)!


Translation: Peter Feddema

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