Summary: Ever wonder why, in a world of mega structures and information superhighways, the cross is the message that we have to preach? Well Pual makes it very clear...
I don’t know if you have noticed, but our society has become more and more saturated with knowledge, more so than any other generation before it. Most children, by the age of 8 or 9 know more about computers than their parents. Currently more new information is being created and revised on Web sites in less than a week than was available on the entire World Wide Web during its formative years. We live in a time where people don’t want to hear about simplicities or religion; they’re far too complex for that, right? This morning I want to speak to you about this foolish Gospel that we promote and preach about. Why is it important that our message doesn’t change in this ever changing world? Why is the old rugged cross still central in a world of mega structures and information super highways?
Paul was writing this letter to the believers in Corinth which was about 50 miles west of Athens. It was a city known for its wealth, its luxurious lifestyles and the immoral and vicious habits of the people. It had a large mixed population of mostly Greeks and Jews as well as Romans. It was to this enlightened city that Paul brought this message of the gospel which seemed simplistic and crude. Paul writes this passage to the believers to encourage them to continue on and remember the seemingly foolish message of the cross.
The Jews (vs. 22a, 23a)
The Jews, especially in Paul’s day, represented a group of people who were waiting for this great deliverer. Someone who was going to come and pronounce himself ruler, be of royal blood, wipe out Roman rule and lead the Hebrew nation. Imagine you had been waiting for this person your whole life. Your mother and father would tell you stories before going to bed about this deliverer that would come and free all your people. This guy would have been almost mythical in proportion, like Hercules or something. Then you here stirrings of this one they called the Messiah. This is the person you have been waiting for all your life, this great conquering hero and you watch as they beat him, nail him to a cross and crucify him. This obviously was not the Messiah, he didn’t meet their expectations. He didn’t show the phenomenal cosmic power proof they were looking for. To mention that He was the deliverer was offensive
This was the mindset of the Jewish people, which helps us to see that there is still a large portion of the population who would not accept this type of Saviour. These people want to see the mighty conqueror, like Arnold, who will do mighty and wonderful things and then they will believe. They have their own concept of what the Messiah and once they see proof of that then they will accept. To them our message is offensive, as if Jesus could have possibly been the Saviour of the world, he proved to be a man just like everyone else.
The Greeks (vs. 22b, 23b)
Oh those smart, philosophical, learned and brilliant Greeks. In this time of history they were known for debating and spending time contemplating the complexities of life. They were recognized as being sophisticated and scholarly with their own conclusions on how the world worked. They were praised their own ability to reason and come up with a logical explanation for problems. They were taught to strive for education, philosophy, love the finer things of life, and do whatever makes you happy. They enjoyed life and lived for the moment. It is easy to see how Christ did not fit into this world view. It meant changing everything they had loved and lived for. More importantly it meant submitting to a line of thinking which they didn’t come up with. They wouldn’t be able to take any credit for it. They liked their ideas better.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to see that many people walking the streets of our city have pretty much the same mentality. Loving pleasures and elevating their own conclusions about life and how the world really works. Education and science has replaced the need for religion. It is better to believe what works best for you and do whatever makes you feel good. For example…
ILL. A few years ago the topic of the day on an Oprah Winfrey show was "Having Affairs With Married Men". She had brought together several people who were having affairs to get their comments on how they felt about it.
One lady responded very positively, saying that her affair with a married man had been a long-standing affair, & she was very happy in it.
Then someone raised the question of morality. Instantly, the woman took offence. "Wait a minute," she said. "I’m a Christian, but I want everyone to know that my personal life & my religion don’t interfere with one another."