With the end of Luke comes a new book. I was praying it over, and am excited to begin exploring 1 Corinthians with you! Our adventure begins…
“Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,
2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus,called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (emphasis mine!)
I wonder if Paul suspected how far those words would go. It is a marvel to think how far Christianity has come from that time in Luke where Jesus called some stinky fishermen. It actually started before that, back when God was telling the prophets everything to write down as a promise of what would happen. And before that when He told Adam and Eve of the promised One who would crush Satan’s head. He is faithful!
Paul gives thanks to God for the gifts given to the Corinthians by Jesus. They were called to fellowship…and that’s where Paul begins his appeal.
Unity! Why are you fighting among yourselves and picking sides and choosing one preacher over another to follow? Paul! Apollos! Cephas! Rather, rally around Christ, the only One who saves you!
Just as easily Paul might have written a few other names. Calvin! The Pope! Arminius! Or perhaps Francis Chan! John Piper! The President of the Convention of ____! Pastor _______! How guilty I am of picking a side. Lately, I have been challenged to shake up my hard-nosed doctrines and come back to the Bible. How can we as Christians be united under Christ? It seems hopeless at times. But like Paul said,
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Do we work too hard to make Christianity sound good to people? What if we told a raw story with stutters of amazement instead? God works through foolishness. Paul reminds his readers that Jews wanted Jesus to prove Himself with signs (seen throughout Luke!) and the Greeks wanted logic. God’s love is not logical. It is not something we can wrap our mind-boxes around no matter how we package it in morals and messages. Love escapes understanding, through God’s wisdom and power, that is stronger than the best man can offer. Isn’t that amazing? We build pyramids and supercomputers and scheme over space and try to find the meaning of life and fulfillment in every direction. And God’s wisdom seems like folly, but it stops us in our tracks. Let us boast in God, and stop reigning-in how we talk about His love.
God, help me stop trying to phrase you in words that sound good to the world, and enjoy the “folly” of how You love, sharing that message with the people I meet. Amen.
(This is a great version of an old hymn. It runs about 3 minutes).