April 27, 2023

Scandal and Madness

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.

—  1 Corinthians 1:23

The apostle Paul was writing to his Christian friends in Corinth, a prominent Greek city. Great thinkers disputed their ideas in the public square. Their admirers applauded them. The Greeks (Gentiles) were fond of philosophy. When they heard about Jesus, who was crucified for our salvation, they thought it was madness to believe in and preach about him.

Many Jews, on the other hand, thought their Messiah should be a great warrior-king who would free them from the ­tyranny of Rome. So, to them, it was scandalous to think of this person nailed to a cross.

Paul was not intimidated by these prejudiced and extreme reactions. He continued to preach the message of the cross. There is no other gospel to be preached, he said, but the message of Christ, who was crucified for all who believe in him.

There is no good news for the sinner apart from the message of Christ. Only by the death and resurrection of Jesus do we have life. It is by his blood that we receive forgiveness and redemption. It has pleased God to save sinners by the foolishness of this preaching. The foolishness of God is wiser than the so-called wisdom of the world. The cross of Christ may be rejected by unbelievers, but to us who believe, it is “the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

Father God, the finished work of Jesus reveals your power and your wisdom. Thank you for giving us faith in Jesus, who was crucified so that we may have life. In his name, Amen.

About the author — Hernandes Lopes

Hernandes became the Portuguese ministry leader for Today's sister Portuguese ministry in 2010. He also serves as the director of the organization Luz Para o Caminho (Light for the Way), an organization formed in partnership between ReFrame and the Presbyterian
Church of Brazil. Hernandes has authored more than 160 books and is a popular and respected conference speaker in Brazil. Hernandes graduated from Seminário Presbiteriano do Sul in Brazil and earned a Doctorate of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary in
Jackson, MS.

Hernandes and his wife, Tinha, have two adult children.

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