Devotion Text: 1 Corinthians 1:22-25
Christianity really is a public relations nightmare.
When Paul wrote this letter to the people of Corinth, there were essentially two religions in the Roman empire–Judaism and the existing Greek/Roman mythologies. Christianity, to the entire known world, was not what people were looking for when they looked for religion. For the Jews, it was long-bred into the culture that there would be signs pointing to the coming Messiah. Due to their lack of faith, the Messiah came and went and they ignored him. Greeks, inheriting the mantle from the likes of Socrates and Plato, sought to rationalize every aspect of their life, including faith.
Is it any different today?
Spiritual people around the globe are still looking for a sign. Catholics look for miracles. Pentecostals look for spiritual gifts. New age spiritualists are looking for the secret. Jews are still looking for the Messiah.
Rationalists are still looking to make sense of it all. Skeptics point to all the places where the Bible doesn’t make “sense” to them and even those who would call themselves believers try to bend scripture to their own rational designs.
We preach Christ crucified.
It doesn’t make sense! The image of Christ, dead on the cross, doesn’t look like a sign of victory but of defeat. It certainly doesn’t appeal to our human sense of reason! How could one man pay for the sins of the world and how could he rise from the dead? How can God die? Why would God die for me? I can’t figure it out!
We preach Christ crucified.
That mission statement of the Christian church isn’t what the world wants to hear when it looks for God, but it is the core of God’s plan for salvation. That message is the power of God. It confounds the world and comforts the people of God. It is not something that can be easily seen or easily reasoned, this message of Christ crucified can only be understood through faith.
Christ died that you might live. Believe it.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me in my moments of unbelief. Forgive the times when I look for you in any other place than your Word and Sacraments. Forgive me, also, for all my feeble attempts to understand your role in my life rather than trust your guiding hand. Keep me forever in the comfort that you won for me with your death on the cross and use me to spread that message to others. Amen.
You shall have no other gods!
If you lived in ancient Greece, to which God would you have given your heart? Would it have been Aphrodite? If you are all about physical looks and love, if you treasure those things in your life, she would have been the goddess for you!
Would it have been Apollo? If you are a writer or have a sick relative this was the God for you. Worship him and you will never have writers block and your sick relatives would always get better.
How about Hera? Does your life revolve around having a family? Do you fear losing your family more than anything else in the world? Pray to Hera! Give her offerings and your family will be safe and happy.
What about Demeter? Are you a farmer? Does your very existence depend on a good crop? All you have to do is worship Demeter better than anyone else and your crop will be 10 times its former size!