Three Reactions to The Cross - 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

This year Easter Sunday is on April 1st. So, you probably also know that many people call April 1st, April Fool’s Day. You may also know that some think preaching about and worshiping Jesus is foolish.

Some think it is foolish to put your confidence in the message of the Cross.

Billy Graham on his 95th birthday, "It all goes back to the cross, where Jesus paid sin’s penalty for you and me, so that by simply repenting of our sins and trusting in Him, we can have everlasting life with Him."

D.A. Carson, “I fear that the cross, without ever being disowned, is constantly in danger of being dismissed from the central place it must enjoy…” (The Cross and Christian Ministry, p. 331)

1.  Some stumble at the “weakness” of the cross.  

In 1 Corinthians 1:23, Paul says that they preached Christ crucified – and this was a stumbling block for some people.

STUMBLING BLOCK = we get our English word SCANDAL from the Greek word for STUMBLING BLOCK.  It was a scandalous thought that the Son of God, the Lord of Lords, the Savior, the Messiah would be crucified.  Crucifixion was the form of capital punishment saved for the worst of the worse criminals.  The idea that the promised One of God, their Messiah would experience that kind of humiliation was appalling to the Jewish religious leaders of the day.

Even those loyal to Jesus struggled with this - Acts 1:6, So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

After His crucifixion, when Jesus had risen from the dead, He meets two of his discouraged followers on a road – (Luke 24:25-27) He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

2.  Some laugh at the “foolishness” of the cross. 

In 1 Cor. 1:23, we have the second reaction.  The Bible says here that the cross of Christ was FOOLISHNESS to the Greeks.  

FOOLISHNESS = we get our English word MORON from the Greek word for foolishness.  In essence, they were saying that the Cross of Christ, what Jesus went through was ABSURD, CRAZY, LUDICROUS – OR JUST PLAIN DUMB.

Now, the Greeks prided themselves on their philosophy and great thinkers.  In fact, in our secondary schools and universities we still study the great Greek thinkers – Homer, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle.  Now, the Greek philosopher would have had no problem believing God became a man – as we teach that Jesus was 100% God, 100% man – the God-Man.  What they could not fathom though is the way Jesus is as God.  The Greeks had all kinds of statues of their Greek gods.  They supposedly ruled from Mt. Olympus – and had incredible powers, yet would give into human temptation, and come and wreak havoc among the mortals. 


3.  Some trust in the “power” and “wisdom” of the cross.

POWER OF GOD.  Romans 6:10-11 (NLT), “When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.”

WISDOM OF GOD.  As John Piper has so beautifully declared of the cross:  The wisdom of God devised a way for the love of God to satisfy the wrath of God without compromising the justice of God.  This wisdom was on display on the cross when God’s Son was crucified, because there:

  • God’s Wrath was satisfied.
  • God’s Justice was uncompromised.
  • God’s Love was magnified.
  • God’s Grace was glorified.
  • God’s Mercy was exercised.
  • God’s Wisdom was exemplified.
  • And, God’s Glory was maximized!

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. [1 COR. 1:25]


Your brother in Jesus,

Brian Autry