Text: But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthian 1:24 KJV)
The Epistle appointed for this service shows us the reaction of some of the Jews and the Greeks to the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ preached to them. To the Jews, the very idea of salvation through the death of the Messiah (Christ) looked strange. How could a crucified man save them? It looked further strange to them because contrary to their expectation, the Messiah did not bring about political liberation from their Roman over lords. The Greeks on their part, could not understand the goodnews because of the following:
- They could not comprehend the bodily resurrection of Christ.
- Only criminals were crucified, and since Christ was crucified, He could not save as death has sealed everything about Him.
- Christ, by his humility, poverty and death did not fit into their (Greeks own concept of God.
The message of the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ alone still sounds strange and foolish to many in the contemporary world. But the truth is simply this: Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthian 1:12). He (Christ) is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes (Roman 1:16). God in his infinite wisdom and power has brought about the salvation of mankind through the death of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross. God’s ways are different from our ways, so also his thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). No amount of human wisdom can surpass that of the omnipotent God (Psalm 139). It is this power of God in Christ that brought salvation, healing and peace. It is by this power that we are assured of our blissful place in the hereafter.
It is only in the power and wisdom of God that the ministry can be successfully carried out. Paul recognized this fact very early in his ministry, when he said he preached the gospel not in human wisdom but by the spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the spirit (1 Corinthian 2:13), so that no human being might boast in the presence of God (1 Corinthian 1:29)
This then is both a warning and encouragement. Warning to those who feel they can carry out the ministry of propagating the gospel; on human learning. Their efforts will amount to nothing; as spiritual issues are spiritually discerned. Encouragement in the sense that the call into the ministry of propagating the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ does not depend on human ability and learning, but by God’s empowerment (1 Corinthian 1:26-29)
For ministers in particular and Christians in general, let us always remember that the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of our life. It is only through Him that we have the power and wisdom to accomplish success in the ministry.
The Very Revd Adewale Adebiyi Ph.D