I Corinthians 2:1-5
One of the constant challenges the church has faced throughout the ages is how to communicate the good news in ways that get people’s attention and in ways that make sense. In Paul’s day, the great speakers of the day were skilled in the use of various rhetorical devices that entertained, persuaded, and motivated people to action. The best speakers could utilize these rhetorical skills to communicate the best philosophical insights of the day. We all know that the way a message is packaged has an impact on its reception. In the modern church, we like preachers who can keep our attention whether through the use of powerful personal illustrations in their preaching or the eye-catching glitz of a compelling multi-media presentation. Paul seemed to take pride in the fact that when he preached the gospel to the Corinthians, he focused his message on the simple proclamation of Jesus’ crucifixion. The great Apostle admits his fear as he preached to the people of Corinth. And apparently, he did not try to win the crowd’s favor by impressing them with his intelligence, which was considerable. It is hard to know exactly what powerful acts Paul utilized to demonstrate the truth of his message, but apparently he wanted people to respond not just to what they heard, but what they saw. In a day when we are easily attracted to the slickest presentation, Paul’s words remind us to pay attention to the substance of the message proclaimed, whether from politicians, professors, or preachers—and then to look for the fruit the message bears in real life. And as we try to be the church in a media-saturated culture where many voices clamor for attention, could it be that the simple message of God’s love for the world displayed through Christ’s death on the cross and a witness to that message by lives of sacrificial compassion and genuine love might once again be the thing that will change the world?
Thought for the day: However it is packaged, the good news, at its core, is that in the cross, God has shown us the heart of God.
Prayer: O God, help us to be people who can still appreciate the simple truth of the gospel that in Christ’s cross, we see most clearly your love for us and the world. And as your people, help us to never stop trusting the power of that message, proclaimed by our words and our deeds, to change the world. Amen.