To Die for Strength
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
He Died for Strength
We live in an age of power. The most powerful iPhone yet, or laptop, however, gives you the ability to do more things than really will ever be able to do. We have cars now with real cruise control technology that allow you to take your hands off of the steering wheel and just let it go. Amazing power! Phones and cars and all most of the technology are extremely powerful, but it also needs power, a charge, electricity to be able to do all of those powerful things for you. An iPhone without a charge is a little bit less useful than a brick. An electric car without a battery is just a very expensive piece of furniture. When you remove he power from something, making it powerless. It changes how we feel about it.
When a man who claimed to be God died, how powerful did people think he was?
This week we will see that. He chose to die for strength.
The verses that we are looking at this morning are from 1 Corinthians 1.
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Paul is talking to the church in Corinth, and he is just candidly staying why people reject the Bible. He is saying that in his experience there are two groups of people. There are those that there are the Jews. The people that know the Bible. They know the history of God’s word. The people with the ancestors and the culture that is wrapped around a relationship with the one true God.
When Jesus started his ministry, he went to them first. He went to the synagogues he went to their places of worship, and that is where is started to preach to them. And he did signs. He would heal the sick and drive out demons. Jesus was the son of God. And those that had faith in him, when they saw Jesus did these miraculous signs, they put their faith in Jesus. God is powerful, and he uses his power for you, and me, and all of those who believe in him.
When they asked Jesus for a sign, he had already shown to the amazing power. Throughout his ministry, Jesus did many wonderful signs. Feeding people, healing people, calming storms, and when he used his power to raise Lazurus from the dead, they look for a way to kill him. The power of a sign that they are looking for isn't power over life, or disease or nature; it is political power. And Christ dying on the cross to gain power is foolishness because usually crucification ends your political career.
When they looked at Jesus, and especially a crucified Jesus. They didn’t see power. They saw a foolish man who claimed to be God who was dead.
The greeks were looking for wisdom. When they look at Jesus, they didn’t see what they thought they should see. They didn’t see the wisdom of the world. They don’t see someone that outsmarted everyone else. They don’t see someone that is very successful. They again saw someone that died for their ideas, but the ideas were not matching up with the wisdom of the world. Jesus said the last should be first and the first shall be last. The world says, Doesn’t it make more sense Jesus that the first are first and the last are last. Jesus says blessed are the poor, the meek, the world says blessed are the rich and powerful.
There is this disconnect between the logic of this world and the true wisdom of God. What God says is right and good and wise the world looks at and says is foolishness. Take the ten commandments for example. If you want wisdom for how to live your life. The ten commandment is all you need. If our nation followed the ten commandments perfectly, we wouldn’t need any more laws. If we worshiped our God, If we obeyed our parents, if we didn’t hurt or harm or steal, if everyone cherished God’s gift of marriage. If we were content with all that we had. We wouldn’t need anything else in this world to govern us. When the world looks at the ten commandments, it doesn’t see what you see. It doesn’t see a guide for your life. It doesn’t see perfect knowledge. It sees impossible standards.
When the world looks at Jesus, and it sees a man dying on the cross claiming that his death is going to erase the punishment for every evil thought word and deed ever committed in the history of the world, it thinks that is foolishness.
Whether or not the world sees power in a dying man on a cross, it doesn’t matter. The power is still there. Whether or not the world sees the wisdom in the word of God. It doesn’t matter it is still there. It’s like an electric fence. If an electric fence is charged, if there are 10,000 volts running through that fence. Whether or not I believe that there is power in the fence does not change what is going to happen when I grab that electric fence. Even if I can’t see it. Even if it looks like just another wire fence.
Jesus might have looked like just any other person. But he was the son of God. King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The bible might look like just any other book on the shelf at Barnes and Nobles, but it is the wisdom of God. You know that. You understand the power that is in Christ. You understand that the death of Jesus on the cross was not a defeat. Because Jesus went there willingly to die for you and your sin. You understand that his death on the cross was the sacrifice of a perfect life for the sins of the entire world. It was not a man being punished by the Roman government, but the son of God paying for the sins of the world and suffering the wrath of God for you and your sins. There is nothing more powerful than that. There is nothing more powerful than literally saving the world from all evil. That is what Jesus did for you on the cross. He died for that. Jesus died for power and strength.
There is power here in this church that may be overlooked. The Lord’s supper looks like people walking up to the front of church eating some bread and drinking some wine, but it's not just that, it is also eating the body and drinking the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and connecting us to him giving us the forgiveness of sins and strengthening our faith. When you look at baptism, just the sprinkling of some water on the head of a baby, how powerful can that be? But it is powerful because it is connected to a promise from God that a little child becomes part of God’s family. That water washes away sin. It creates and strength then faith in the heart of the person being baptized that is true power.
You have faith. You see this power. You believe you know what this wisdom is. That is not a blessing that everyone in this world has. The world thinks of wisdom as being for the wise; therefore it is too complex for the unwise to know. We think of power as being for the powerful; therefore it is something that the weak cannot wield. But the power and the wisdom of God are for the simple child and for the weak to give them knowledge and power that mankind cannot achieve.
Jesus saves us from sin and death. The Holy Spirit works through God’s word to create and strengthen faith in our hearts.
The power that you have access to. It changes your heart. It changes your eternity. It is in a different category than all of the wisdom and power that this world can offer. The most powerful power that man can have. Is still weaker than God. The best wisdom that man can accurate is still nothing in compared to wisdom that God has.
The power and wisdom of God are all summed up in Jesus on the cross. This isn’t a defeat. This is the fatal blow to evil. This isn’t foolishness or a failed plan. This is the will of God is perfectly carried out. Power and wisdom of God are here for you.