“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18).
What kind of things come to mind when you think about the word “power”? Do you think in the government realm of military or political power? Or how about the power of money? Do you think of the concentration of economic power in the hands of wealthy individuals, corporations, or sovereign nations? Or what about the world of pop culture? The idolized status of celebrities breeds an outsized social influence among fans and followers. It seems on a cultural scale, everywhere we turn someone is trying to bring our thoughts, opinions, actions, and our money under their control, power, and influence.
Maybe it is a function of my age, but lately I am losing interest in all of these cultural powers. My interest in who currently carries the most political power is almost down to zero. In my work, I seek to do an honest day’s work for my pay. I don’t think too much about who is pulling the strings or “sticking it to the man” or am I getting my fair share. And don’t get me started on celebrities.
When I catch the pop culture piece of morning news shows, my response is often, “How did we get to this state of blatant foolishness? Are the opinions of celebrities weighing in on moral issues of our day really the gold standard of common sense? Has the world lost its moral mind, its ability to think about rational consequences for our foolish ideas and actions, or have I just fallen into the abyss of curmudgeonliness?”
So here is the thing. I feel like this world is awash in foolishness. And over the years and by God’s grace, my response to this foolishness has turned from anger to compassion for a world lost without Jesus. The world, for its part, is looking at us as the foolish ones. And this is no surprise. The Bible acknowledged this response. “The word of the cross” – the very thing that can save the world – is looked at as “foolishness to those who are perishing.”
But to us, “the word of the cross” is literally the “power of God.” This is not an illusion. The cross, for you and me, is literally the power of God. Somehow, God completely flipped the script on what this symbol represents. How did God turn a source of shame and humiliation and death into a demonstration of His incredible power? Stay tuned for this passion week of posts on the power of the cross.