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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

The Message of the Cross

Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.  For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. ~ I Corinthians 1:10-18

It is foolish when you think about it.

How can an instrument of a violent execution be a means of salvation?

Over the last 2000 years, we've wrestled with this and come up with all kinds of theories about how it happens. Atonement theories we call them.

I've talked about them here before. (you can find summaries of them here):

As I've said before, these theories are just that: theories. We can't claim to fully understand how Jesus' death on the cross achieves salvation for us, despite the fact that we try to.

What we CAN claim is that this salvation came through Jesus and the Cross.

And like Paul we can admit that this looks completely foolish to the rest of the world.

But this is how God works. Flipping the narrative. Turning things upside down. Making the bad good. Turning upright the things that are overturned. Straightening the crooked.

Making a man who has no public speaking ability into a great prophet.

Turning a shepherd a great king.

Using a child as a symbol of faith.

Using a woman as the first evangelist.

Saying the last will be first.

Using a symbol of violent death as a means of salvation.

Don't be tempted to try to say definitively how this works. Instead, rejoice that we have a God who can bring about salvation in the most unexpected places. Who can spin gold out of straw, Who can bring life out of death.

Rejoice and imagine just what that God can do for you!

Praise to you O God, the rock of my salvation! Amen

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