Lent Devotions 2009: Saturday 28th February

“but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those you are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:23-24

Paul’s message to the Corinthians was to teach that Christ through His suffering, crucifixion and resurrection came to save us all. Both the Greek and the Jew rejected the notion – of Jesus suffering – as idiocy. How could God suffer? It is not rational! They wanted a gospel that was based on their own human intellect, but the Gospel that Paul is preaching, the Gospel that is the word of God, is not speculation, it is revelation. What did Paul do? Did he intellectualise the Gospel for the Greek? Did he sanitise the Gospel for the Jews? Did he create signs of wonder to prove he was an apostle of God? No, he preached the message that had been given to him by God. He did not change it one iota!

We certainly need to hear this message today. He did not reduce the message to something the people might accept but it was a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Greeks that their Messiah could be nailed to a cross. Deuteronomy told them that “cursed is anyone who is hanged on a tree”. He would be a malefactor, a criminal and the Messiah could not die in that way! It was a huge stumbling block for a Jew to die on a Roman cross. To the Greek it was foolishness to think of this little Jew dying as a common thief – not even able to overcome His human enemies. Yet it is testified that He overcame sin, death and hell through the cross, saving the entire world from their sins. Such foolishness? It cannot be!

Well, thank goodness that there was one group that embraced this truth. The only difference between those who rejected the Gospel and those who accepted it was the power of the Holy Spirit in their life calling them. The grace of God touches our understanding and makes us melt until we no longer see the Gospel as foolishness but perceive it as God’s salvation.

For that all-surpassing grace we thank You, Lord God, and ask that You would bring more and more to see the wonders of Your love. Amen.