Summary: Seeing God’s plan in the cross
Intro: Who do you know that comes up with crazy plans? I can think back to my neighbor growing up. Gary Kaytor. Gary lived across the street and was 2 years older than me. Gary was the type who everything always worked out for. Gary knew how to turn every situation to his advantage. I remember we would be up the street playing, and Gary would say, Oscar Lease has a soda machine on his porch. Let’s run down there and act like we’re really tired and hot. We would run down, pant, Gary would say, “It sure is hot out” and believe it or not, Oscar would take out some change, put it in the soda machine, and buy us a soda. Now, I don’t think we fooled him, I think he just loved to do nice things for others.
In high school we got a new principal my junior year. He was a big wrestling fan and lined up all the boys in the gym. He started trying to recruit all the boys for a new wrestling team. Several signed up, and as part of their practice, they would pair up to wrestle. Now the guys in my class would set up their practice: you can take me down, then I’ll escape, them you put me in a headlock, etc. They would plan what they would get points for. They probably would have done well in “Professional Wrestling.”
This morning, I want us to look at another plan that on the surface seems foolish, something that makes no sense, something that wouldn’t work. Yet, this plan is the greatest plan ever made. Look with me in 1 Corinthians 1.
Read Text: 1 Corinthians 1:17-2:10
We find here the great plan of God in the provision of the cross.
I. The cross seems foolish to many
Why would the God of all creation choose to become a man. Think about it. If you are witnessing to someone at work, telling them you believe in God, telling them God created everything, and then you tell them that this same powerful God became a man -- it doesn’t make any sense.
The analogy is often used of a bird that flies into a big cathedral. It flies up against the window banging its head. It can find no way out. The pastor thinks, if I could just become a bird, I could show it the way out. That is what God did for us: he became a man to show us how we should live, to show us the way out of our sin, to show us the way to our heavenly father.
1:23 says the cross is a stumbling block to the Jews. Why? The Jews were looking for their Messiah. They were looking for the one who would come and set up his earthly kingdom. They wanted someone to overthrow the Roman oppression and set them free. Yes he came, but he didn’t come as they expected. He came to set up a spiritual kingdom, not an earthly one. He allowed himself to die, so that the great plan of God could be accomplished. He wasn’t tricked and killed: he chose to die. The Jews could never understand how Messiah could be killed. They stumbled over this truth and so did not believe Jesus was Messiah.
Many times we stumble over the way God works. We think if God really loved us he would work everything out the way we think it should be. Yet often he does things different than we expect. Let’s make sure that we don’t try to tell God what is the best plan for our lives. Let’s remember his plan is best, even when we don’t understand why he does what he does.
1:23 also says the cross is foolishness to the Gentiles. Why foolishness? The Greeks thought themselves wise. They wanted to figure out things. They could never figure out if Jesus was God, why we he allow himself to be crucified on a cross. It didn’t make any sense.
The plan of God to have Jesus come and die on a cross seems foolish to many. Yet we know it to be God’s plan. We know it to be the best plan. We know it to be the only plan of salvation.Why?
II. The Cross shows the Love of God
When we think of the shape of the cross, we see a large beam going from top to bottom. The cross is high enough to reach from God to man. The scriptures tell us that our sins have separated us from our God. Try as we might, there is no one who could earn his salvation, or merit it by good works alone. Yet in the cross we see God showing us the way that we can come near to him. In the salvation offered by Jesus’ death on the cross, a sinful people can come near a holy God. God shows his love in offering a way for our sins to be forgiven.