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;
- 1 Corinthians 1:22-23
What is the power of the crucifixion?
Those who have experienced the Salvation of Christ know its power!. It commenced the transforming miracle of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. For them, it marked the beginning of a changed life. Not from one religion to another. That's pointless. But from being empty to overflowing with love and joy. From a life of turmoil to one of peace so powerful they can't figure it out.
Take a minute to think of the millions of lives turned around since that crucifixion 2000 years ago. They are miracles in themselves. One minute on the edge of suicide, the next praising God for Salvation. One minute an alcoholic or drug addict, the next, saved and transformed by the precious blood of Jesus on that Cross. No more tears of a depressing life, but a rejoicing so powerful their praises reach Heaven itself.
Every sincere person who comes to the Cross can be changed. Even a gambling addict would be secure backing that one in. Yet, from the time of the disciples right up to today, the crucifixion seems foolish to some people.
Our scripture says that Christ crucified was a stumbling block to the Jews. God's Word is only a stumbling block to people who don't want to believe, regardless of the reason. Thousands of people who had not heard about Jesus believed the disciples' message, and millions have been converted to a life worth living since that time. Some Jews thought it more a cruci-fiction. Others didn't want to believe because they yearned for their Saviour-King to be wielding a sword against their enemies, as payback for all the things they suffered.
How easily we put Christ in a box, expecting Him to be something we want—to think and act a particular way, to bless some while destroying others, and to create miracles and healings we feel are necessary. When His nature isn't what we expect, or He doesn't do what we desire, our Saviour can become a stumbling block to us. Often when things don't happen a certain way, we can lose faith because we've boxed Him up.
The Greeks thought of the crucifixion as foolishness. They desired wisdom, or so they thought. Wisdom can be very subjective unless it is God's. Much like commonsense, we find wisdom isn't all that common. Ironically, their desire for wisdom became their stumbling block. Yet, true wisdom perceives beyond what is seen, heard or spoken. As we read the biblical proverbs about wisdom, we find that although it has the boundaries of God, it is also beyond the boundaries of comprehension.
Neither the Jews nor Greeks could put their minds away and rely on faith. Everything had to be considered and rendered conceivable. Miracles, healings and spiritual transformations are beyond conceivable. This is why God presented this world's wisdom as foolishness. It cannot look beyond the mind. The Cross will always construe our thoughts as stumbling blocks if they are not of faith.
Do you have a stumbling block that stops you from believing? Is there something in your past that puts a shade of doubt on the crucifixion? Are small parts of the Bible untrue to you? Some religions have for years taught that the story of Adam and Eve was false and merely an untrue example tale. Do you think that is a stumbling block to them? Some churches teach there is no hell, while others don't believe repentance is necessary. Are these stumbling blocks?
Whatever we think in our minds, the crucifixion will be exactly that to us. If we doubt and think it is foolishness, that stumbling block will remain there holding us back from true redemption. If we need a miraculous event to convince us, then we should read Hebrews 11:1 where Paul said, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
The crucifixion and the wonders it wrought are beyond the sight of the eyes or the hearing of the ears, and far above the comprehension of the human mind. By grace alone we are saved through faith, because it believes what it cannot see and reaches beyond what is plausible.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for reminding me of the crucifixion and the miracles it brought. Please help me see through eyes of faith, hear through believing ears, and believe with a faithful heart. As only then will I be a true follower.
Photo by Jussara Rumao