We have already studied the seriousness of sin and the consequences of sin; but prior to studying what Jesus calls us to do, it is good to study his own reaction to sin. How did Jesus react to the sinful state of the world? What was he willing to do as a result of this problem before asking any of us to do anything?
I Corinthians 1:18-25
"The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those people who are lost; but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. It is written in the scriptures,
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise people. I will make the intelligence of the intelligent people worth nothing." Isaiah 29:14
Where is the wise person? Where is the educated person? Where is the philosopher of this age? God has made the wisdom of the world foolish. This is what God with his wisdom wanted: The world did not know God through the world’s own wisdom, so God used the message that sounds foolish to save the people that believe it. The Jews asked for miracles as proof. The Greeks want wisdom; but we preach this: Christ was killed on a cross. This is a big problem to the Jews and it seems foolish to the non-Jews; but Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God to those people that God has called (chosen) - both Jews and Greeks (non-Jews). Even the foolishness of God is wiser than men. Even the weakness of God is stronger than men."
The Jews wanted something powerful and miraculous. Instead they were given someone on a cross. The Greeks wanted something eloquent or philosophical. Instead they were given someone on a cross. To appreciate the confusion shown by Jews and Greeks, let’s put it in modern day terms. What is the modern day equivalent of the cross????????????? The Electric Chair! Can you imagine putting your faith in someone who was killed in an electric chair like a common criminal? What is so wise or powerful about the cross?
The Story of Jesus on the Cross
"Then Pilate freed Barabbas. Pilate told some soldiers to beat Jesus with whips. Then Pilate gave Jesus to the soldiers to be killed on a cross. Then Pilate’s soldiers brought Jesus into the governor’s palace. All the soldiers gathered around Jesus. The soldiers took off Jesus’ clothes and put a red robe on him. Then the soldiers used thorny branches to make a crown. They put this crown of thorns on Jesus’ head, and they put a stick in his right hand. Then the soldiers bowed before Jesus and teased him. They said, "Hello, king of the Jews!" The soldiers spit on Jesus. Then they took his stick and hit him on the head many times. After they finished teasing Jesus, the soldiers took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led Jesus away to be killed on a cross."
"The soldiers were going out of the city with Jesus. The soldiers forced another man there to carry the cross for Jesus. This man’s name was Simon from Cyrene. They came to the place called Golgotha. (Golgotha, means "The Place of the Skull.") At Golgotha, the soldiers gave Jesus wine to drink. This wine was mixed with gall. Jesus tasted the wine but refused to drink it. The soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross. Then the soldiers gambled with dice to decide who would get Jesus’ clothes. The soldiers sat there and continued watching Jesus."
"The soldiers sat there and continued watching Jesus. The soldiers put a sign above Jesus’ head with the charge against him written on it. The sign said: "THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS." Two robbers were nailed to crosses beside Jesus. One robber was put beside Jesus on the right and the other was put on the left. People walked by and said bad things to Jesus. People shook their heads and said, "You said you could destroy the temple and build it again in three days. So save yourself! Come down from that cross, if you are really the Son of God!" The leading priests, the teachers of the law, and the older Jewish leaders were also there. These men teased Jesus the same as the other people. They said, "He saved other people. But he can’t save himself! People say he is the king of Israel (the Jews). If he is the king, then he should come down now from the cross. Then we will believe in him. He trusted God. So let God save him now, if God really wants him. He himself said, ‘I am the Son of God.’"
"And in the same way, the robbers that were being killed on crosses beside Jesus also said bad things to him. At noon the whole country became dark. This darkness continued for three hours. At about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" This means, "My God, my God, why have you left me alone?" Some of the people standing there heard this. The people said, "He is calling Elijah." Quickly one of the people ran and got a sponge. That person filled the sponge with vinegar and tied the sponge to a stick. Then he used the stick to give the sponge to Jesus to drink from it. But the other people said, "Don’t bother him (Jesus). We want to see if Elijah will come to save him." Again Jesus cried with a loud voice. Then he died."
"When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple was torn into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom. Also, the earth shook and rocks were broken. All the graves opened, and many of God’s people that had died were raised from death. Those people came out of the graves. After Jesus was raised from death, those people went into the holy city (Jerusalem), and many people saw them. The army officer and the soldiers guarding Jesus saw this earthquake and everything that happened. They were very afraid and said, "He really was the Son of God!" Many women were standing away from the cross, watching. These were the women that followed Jesus from Galilee to care for him. Mary Magdalen, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of James and John were there."
If you now re-read the above scripture about I Corinthians 1:18-25, you can appreciate now why Christians draw so much power and inspiration from the Cross.