Imagine the first-century followers of the Way. In the two
decades following Jesus’ death, the fledgling church has
struggled, knowing that a confession of Jesus Christ as Lord was
politically subversive in an empire that proclaimed Caesar as
Lord. By Paul’s day, the Jews had suffered three hundred years
of subjugation at the hands of the Romans. A theology developed
in some corners that God was coming to clean house: drive
out oppressors, destroy enemies, and restore the throne of David.
The messiah would literally be the King of the Jews.

Paul writes to encourage the early Christian congregation.
He reminds the Corinthians that followers of the Way proclaim
Christ crucified, and therein lies the problem. For Greeks who
envisioned a god that transcended human life, and Jews who
understood God’s Messiah in powerful military terms, Christ
crucified is indeed a stumbling block.

So who can view the cross as the power of God? ”Those
who are being saved.” The Corinthian community has a reputation
for taking pride in its own spiritual wisdom and accomplishments.
Paul reminds them that God, working in their
midst, chose foolishness, weakness, lowliness—overturning the
world’s values.

The Christian faith is not about a god of perfection in the
way the Greek philosophers wanted or powerful in the way
religious extremists preferred. Instead, Christian faith is about a
God who laughs and weeps, rejoices and grieves; a God capable
of anger and remorse and profound love; a God who, for our
sake and the sake of love, suffers. The cross reveals God’s wisdom
and will for the world.

Amazing love, how can it be that you, my King, should die for me?

Log In to leave a comment
Lectionary Week
April 10–16, 2017
Scripture Overview

It is not appropriate to conclude that God disappears at the cross and only emerges again in the event of Easter. Christian proclamation of the cross begins with the understanding that even in Jesus’ utter abandonment, God was present. The Holy Week/Easter texts bring together the common themes of death’s reality, the powerful intrusion of the delivering God, and the manifold responses to resurrection. Paul argues that the gospel looks to many like nothing more than weakness and folly. The cross symbolizes defeat but is in reality the instrument of power and salvation. Isaiah 50:4-9a recalls the hostility that follows upon servanthood. A moment of acceptance, even welcome, will not hide from the servant the fact of the rejection to come. John 20 honestly faces the reality of death. Paul asserts in First Corinthians that the cross of Jesus Christ reveals the power of God.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Isaiah 50:4-9a. When have you faced a task with your face set like int? How did your resolve impact the outcome of your work?
• Read Matthew 27:57-66. When have you attempted to seal Jesus in a tomb? When have you felt anxious or fearful about the change Jesus might bring in your life?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. In what ways have you discovered the Cross to be God’s wisdom for you?
• Read John 20:1-18. How does Jesus’ resurrection signal new life to you? What comes to you “green and fresh” today?

Respond by posting a prayer.