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The city of Corinth, like all ancient Roman cities, focused attention on the importance of power. Military power, the strength of armies. Political power, the supremacy of influence. Financial power, the potency of money. Social power, the command of public opinion. Corinthian values were predicated upon domination. In the middle of a city, in a culture built upon the idea of making others submit to the will of the powerful, the apostle Paul utters these words in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the proclamation of the cross is, for their part, folly to those who are on their way to ruin, but, for our part, the power of God to us who are on the way to salvation.”
God flips the script on a human view of power. Overwhelming political, military, social, and financial power is itself overwhelmed by folly. Paul uses the word “folly” from which we get our word ineffective, meaning empty or fruitless. God turns the tables on a human view of power. Instead of domination, God’s power is humiliation, the humiliation of crucifixion, the proclamation of The Cross. Crucifixion, the most brutal, most disgusting form of punishment to Roman thinking, is God’s way of salvation. The Romans thought of crucifixion on a cross as a scandal, the Greek word Paul later uses to describe death on a cross. You see, crucifixion was punishment reserved for the worst criminals, the most hated terrorists. God says, the way to salvation, true power, is through Jesus’ humiliation at the cross.
It might seem strange during the Christmas season, to reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus. But stop and consider: the greatest power, the only effective means of human salvation from sin, begins with the birth of a baby, God in flesh, our only hope for peace on earth. For Truth in Two, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, president of the Comenius Institute, personally seeking truth through the power of Jesus’ work on the cross. [First published at MarkEckel.com]