The Word of the Cross
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
Notice that the focus of this verse is not just on “the cross.” But rather the focus of Paul’s attention is on “the word of the cross.” His focus is on “the message of the cross.” If nothing else, this says something about the importance of the preaching of the cross.
What does that even mean? What does it mean to “preach the cross?” In her book The Crucifixion: Understand the Death of Jesus Christ, Fleming Rutledge seeks to deepen our understanding of this most central tenet of our faith: the message of Christ crucified.
Well for starters, this verse reminds us that the power of God in our lives is not just anchored in a past event, but it is a very present reality. Rutledge says, “The preaching of the cross is an announcement of a living reality that continues to transform human existence and human destiny more than two thousand years after it originally occurred.”
In the message of the cross, God is present and powerfully active in the lives of people today. It is a message that not only saves us, but it continually shapes us. Through the word of the cross, Paul says we “are being saved.” Consequently, it is important for us to know the message of the cross.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season. As we make our way to Good Friday and to Easter Sunday, each week we will reflect on the message of the cross. Each week I will share some insight I have gained from this book on the cross of Christ. As a result, my prayer is that we would gain a deeper insight into the message of the cross and how it shapes the way we live.
So as we begin this seven-week journey, let us begin with the confidence that God is powerfully present in the message of the cross. As we recount the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we are not just looking back at events that have marked the course of history. Rather, in “the message of the cross” we find the present power of God to change lives.
And so with the words of Paul, we are able to encourage each other with this promise, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
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