Audio clip and bulletin notes for a sermon preached at Morden Mennonite on Jan. 29, 2017, in a series called “Jesus: Our Church’s One Foundation.”
This sermon continues our reflection on Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians through the story of Gaia, a fictional woman in first-century Corinth. In this sermon Paul’s words about “Christ crucified” as the true power and wisdom of God become real to Gaia in her own struggles and weakness (1 Corinthians 1:18-31).
Audio: “Jesus, Crucified King”
- The church in Corinth was a church divided over sexuality and marriage, spirituality and worship. There were factions within the church, each with its favourite theology and preferred leaders. Underneath all this were questions over how to faithfully follow Jesus within a diverse and changing culture.
- Paul points the Corinthians to “Christ crucified.” For Jews, this was a stumbling block: a crucified Messiah was unfathomable, even near-blasphemy. For Gentiles, this was foolishness: what kind of king or “son of god” gets executed in the most shameful way imaginable?
- But for Christians, “Christ crucified” gets at the heart of our faith. “Christ crucified” is the power and wisdom of God. “Christ crucified” shows us who God is and how God works in the world.
- The cross is the ultimate “God moment”: it reveals a God who is especially with the last, the least, and the lost, the “nothings” of this world; it reveals a God who is most present in our moments of greatest weakness and suffering, our times of greatest need.
- The cross is the ultimate “power display”: it shows that compassion is stronger than aggression, that truth is stronger than manipulation, that nonviolence is stronger than violence, that forgiveness is stronger than retribution, that persuasion is stronger than coercion, that love is stronger than fear or hate.
Questions to Ponder:
- In what ways do we buy into our world’s view of power and success? In what ways have I done so?
- In what ways do I need to re-orient my thinking in light of the cross, on who God is, or how God works, or how I should live?