We Preach Christ Crucified
“But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:23-24) Why is the death of Christ a problem? Because, death is a barrier. For God to die for man shows His unfailing love, and yet this type of love is only expressed in the Christian faith. No other followed religious deity dies for their subjects, only God Most High. The Jews wanted a warrior king, a deliverer from oppressors. The philosophical peoples can not fathom the reason a higher being would humble himself to an inferior race. But we see in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, an expression of saving love that is unique to everything, everywhere, ever. Because Jesus left the splendor of Heaven, humbled Himself to death- even a death on a cross, He is worthy to open the book of life. Jesus, the lamb slain, provides life through His death.
Is it any wonder that the denominational world downplays baptism? It seems nearly prophetic that Jews and Greeks were hung up on this point. People the world over still are! Why be baptized? Why not just confess faith? Because my Savior didn’t leave Heaven to stand on a mountain and say, “have faith in Me”. He came to be abused, crushed, and broken. He came to stain the ground red with blood that poured from His chest. He came to die. And He died for me. That is why I laid under the water, because He laid in the ground.
If the story stopped with Jesus being laid in the ground, then there would be no reason to serve Him. But He is risen. Just like I was pulled up out of that water He came out of the ground and never died again. And, He assures us that those who join in a death like His will live in a life like His. Why have some not joined Him? Well, He has asked them to die. To put to death their sins and old way of living and to be a new creature in Him. It just doesn’t make sense to many people. Perhaps, that is why the next verse reads, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”