The Preaching of Foolishness

Studies in First Corinthians – III

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

I would like to share a story with you from Alan Redpath’s The Royal Route To Heaven. He writes:

I heard an eminent professor of theology say to students in his seminary class, “Gentlemen, I ask you to remember that you are called upon to know something of the foolishness of preaching, not the preaching of foolishness.” In my heart I retorted, “He is wrong! The word of the cross is absolute foolishness.” It says so in my text: to those who are perishing, the word of the cross is foolishness.

It depends on who you are talking to: those who are perishing or those who are being saved. To those who are perishing, the word of the cross is absolute foolishness. It is a contradiction to all of the science, philosophy, education, and knowledge of this world.

Let us hear the word of the cross spoken on a hill just outside of the walls of Jerusalem:

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). This prayer of Christ for His murders doesn’t make any sense, humanly speaking.

“Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). This pity given to the guilty from the innocent as they both suffer seems strange to human logic.

“Woman, behold thy son” (John 19:26-27). The concern of her well being in the hour of His death is at the very least the result of the purest of hearts.

“My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Now alone, utterly cut off, He is introducing a countless multitude to glory through His suffering.

“I thirst!” (John 19:28). Out of the agony of these parched lips flows rivers of living water.

“It is finished!” (John 19:30). Obedient unto death, forsaken by friend and foe, Jesus has paid the price! The innocent died for the guilty!

What is the word of the cross in your life and mine? It is power through weakness, life through death, resurrection through crucifixion.

Those who are perishing say it is foolishness. If that is so, I was saved by the preaching of foolishness.

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