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The Word of the Cross

by | Jan 28, 2023 | Witnessing

“For the Word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-25 ESV)

What happens when your non-Christian friends find out that you follow Jesus? Do they look confused? Do they ever ask you how you can believe that stuff?

Really, it’s hard to blame them. You are following a crucified God. How does that make sense? Our culture teaches us to grab for power—to use whatever leverage we have to make it to the top. Many of our political leaders openly brag about the people they have walked over and the norms they have broken to get their way. And they receive honor for it! To follow a crucified Savior is to put yourself on the side of the losers—to accept mocking, to admit that you aren’t Number One. Why would you do that?

Trying to explain it can be embarrassing. “Well, it’s because I love Him.” That can be really hard to say! But it’s the truth, isn’t it? We love Him—and why? Because He loved us first. Because He loved us so much that He laid down His life on the cross in order to rescue us—people who had nothing to offer Him except sin and trouble and grief. But He wanted us, and He was willing to suffer and die to get us—yes, and to rise from the dead so that we could live forever in Him. That is the God we know, that is the Jesus we trust in. And for Him, we are willing to accept other losses—social embarrassment, broken friendships, loss of the power and prestige we could’ve had if we were willing to disobey Him. No wonder Paul says, “The Word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing!”

So how in the world can we talk to these people about Jesus when it all seems so foolish to them? We can live our lives openly in front of them—letting them see for themselves that, even though we suffer and struggle just like everyone else in our broken world, we have something in our lives that is different—a source of peace and hope and strength that gets us through. It may take years, but they will notice—and eventually ask. As the Holy Spirit makes us more and more like Jesus in the way we speak and behave, people will wonder—and then we can tell them about Jesus.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep our faith strong in the unwarranted love You have for us. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on January
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all right25s reserved

Reflection Questions:
1. How many non-Christian friends do you have?
2. How could you make more?
3. Tell about a time when someone asked about the fact you are a Christian. How did that conversation go?