The Foolishness of the Cross

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

The world today could use a little foolishness. I'm talking about a specific kind of foolishness of course, a way of ridiculous living that makes those on the outside scratch their heads, but a way that makes perfect sense to those in the know.

It's April Fool's Day today. Do you do pranks in your house? Pranks can be hilarious, as long as both sides have a good sense of humor.

Many people of the first-century, and right up to this current day, view Jesus' resurrection as the biggest prank ever pulled.

Is it ridiculous to believe in resurrection?

Two thousand years ago if you tried to talk to someone about Jesus Christ, they probably would have said something along the lines of: “I thought you were smarter than that!”

“Real people mourned this prophet. Are you trying to be cruel by stirring up false hope?”

“You must be drunk!”

“Why would you want a crucified man to be your Christ?”

Today, people still scoff.

“Don't you know it's physically impossible?”

“Faith is just an emotional crutch so you're not scared of dying.”

“How can you believe a 2,000-year-old book like it's fact?”

“Jesus was a good man who taught good things. But actual miracles and resurrection? Come on, be rational.”

Like us, the early church felt the scoffing of doubters.

No one wants to be thought of as naive and foolish. We all want to explain to the world just how Jesus died and rose again. We begin to think that if we explain it just right, or find a scientific basis, or prove it with physical signs, then we can make everyone believe. It's easy to feel embarrassed when we can't fully explain our own faith!

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul talks to the church about the foolishness of the cross. Read Chapter One and Two for yourself. Here are a few highlights:

  • “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

  • “Has God not made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

  • “For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ [became to us] the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

  • “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise ...”

  • “When I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”

  • “...and my message and my preaching were not in the persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God."

The Greek culture of the first century revered charismatic, persuasive teachers just as much as we do today with our TED talks and professional preachers. The Jewish culture of the first century wanted hard proof, just like we do. Nothing has changed. So why should our message?

We don't need to reinvent the gospel wheel

Our model for preaching the good news should emulate the model of the early preachers.

It is not our wisdom, or our convincing arguments, or our beautifully formatted Easter services that will bring an unbeliever to Christ, it has nothing to do with us, but with God. The power to save comes from God, because as it say