Members in Barcelona celebrated Easter with a service Sunday morning. The listeners meditated a message taken from 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 entitled ‘The wisdom of the cross’.
Easter, and particularly the day of the resurrection became the most important day in the history of mankind that came to be divided in 2 eras. At the cross, Jesus accomplished the victory for us all, both for our individual salvation and the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Although there are still present battles, the overall victory in the war was already achieved and will be consummated based on the work of Christ.
How was that achieved? Through the cross. The cross is a scandal to Jews and foolishness to the Greeks. The Jews had great expectation in the coming of the Messiah. Their understanding was that through the Messiah a completely new era of righteousness would start. The kingdom of Satan would come to an end and the kingdom of God established in power. This view was also strongly rooted in the disciples and even John the Baptist.
Right after Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ, the son of the living God, Jesus starts teaching the disciples about the path of cross that the son of man should take. Peter immediately rebukes Jesus, and Jesus in turn rebukes him and says that he doesn’t have sense for the things of God but only for the things of men. Then he calls all the crowd and affirms before them the parh of cross that the Messiah will take and that his disciples should take as well willingly and without shame.
John the Baptist while in prison also couldn’t understand how Jesus could be the Messiah. He had the expectation that with the coming of the Messiah the kingdom of Satan will be crushed and brought to an end, but there he was in prison, suffering unfairly and powerless under an evil rules. To John, Jesus replies that the kingdom of God has indeed already come.
So what is the Christian view and the truth? With Jesus a new period opened up where the kingdom of God is already on earth but the kingdom of Satan is also still on earth – they coexist. We are in a intermediate period, between already and not yet. The kingdom of God already come but it was still not fully established. Jesus portrays that to Peter when he says that he will build his church on the rock – Peter – and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
In the parables of heaven Jesus teaches that the kingdom of God will grow step by step as a mustard seed. He teaches that the kingdom of God comes and grows through the preaching of God’s word which is considered by many a foolish method and a foolish message as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1.
In the parable of the weeds, Jesus goes further to say that the kingdom of Satan will even be present inside the church. Even in the church, the enemy sows bad seeds and some seem to grow as weeds while others grow as wheat. An example of that was Judas himself that Jesus did not cut off and gave him time to repent, but eventually grew to become, in last instance, a bad weed.
So why the cross? Why Jesus had to take this path of cross. It was essentially because of our sin and because we can only be saved and fundamentally restored through love. We are saved by grace through faith. Through the fall of men we failed to be fruitful, we lost the love of God. This is the fundamental thing needs to be restored.
This kingdom of God is not a kingdom that can come as the earthly kingdoms imposing itself through power, oppression and violence. The cross is love. It is the most perfect revelation of God’s love. Through the cross, men that were trapped in their sin, arrogance, unbelief, greed, ignorance of God, and hatred come to be set free. The cross is the antidote to sin and the love of God is the power that melts away all our sins.
The wisdom of the cross although it looks initially weak and foolish it comes to be revealed as the strongest and wisest wisdom through the paradox of the cross that Jesus opened up for us. The cross that could have become a loathsome symbol for Christians, a symbol of death, suffering and defeat, rather become a symbol of victory, love and faith, that we have come to cherish. May God grant us the determination to continuously live taking on this path of the cross, experiencing his power and resurrection.