TODAY’S SCRIPTURE 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

In The Lost Letters of Pergamum, Biblical scholar Bruce Longenecker invents a fictional story about a first-century man named Antipas who moves to Pergamum. Antipas is a Roman citizen and an upper-class businessman. He becomes curious about Jesus and the Christian movement and begins a correspondence with the Gospel writer Luke. Luke eventually sends him a copy of his Gospel and shares the Gospel with him.

It might be difficult for us today, but can you imagine being someone like Antipas living in the first century and hearing about Jesus for the first time? I envision it would go something like this: “I’m a Roman citizen and I am loyal to Caesar. Do you really expect me to give my life to your Jewish King? Wait a minute… You mean to tell me that Jesus was crucified on a cross as a criminal? If He really is the Son of God, how could He be crucified?”

In a very real way, the Christian Gospel is foolish. We have given our lives to follow the Messiah of Israel who lived 2,000 years ago in Palestine and died on a cross with criminals. Paul recognizes this fact when he is sharing the Gospel on his missionary journeys: “But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles…” (1 Corinthians 1:23). For Jews, a crucified Messiah is anathema, and for Gentiles, a crucified Jewish man hardly holds any sway over their lives in the pagan Roman Empire.

“But to us who are being saved it [this message] is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). God works through the foolish things of this world (1 Corinthians 1:27). For those of us who have the eyes of wisdom to see things as God sees them, we are being saved because of our belief in the crucified Lord, Jesus Christ. He has become the wisdom of God for us (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Today, I will…boast in the Lord because His wisdom is greater than my weakness (1 Corinthians 1:29-31).