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The Foolishness of the Cross

By John Daniel Jones

      "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18).

      He chose to redeem the world by dying for it. This was not the method the Jews had anticipated. This was not the method even His own disciples anticipated. They expected Christ to take possession of the world by right of conquest. They were always dreaming about thrones, quarrelling as to which of them should occupy the throne nearest Christ's when His Kingdom was actually established. The temptation to take possession of the world in that way presented itself to Jesus. It constituted part of the Temptation in the wilderness. The Devil promised Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them if He would stoop to the use of worldly weapons. But Jesus thrust the temptation away and deliberately set His face toward the Cross. He set His faith, not on force, but on sacrificial love. He chose to win the world by dying for it. But that was so unexpected a method, that for the moment it shattered the faith of the disciples.

      The unbelieving Jews thought that by the Cross they had brought an impostor's career to an end; the disciples thought the Cross meant final defeat and failure. Their hopes of the Kingdom died with the death of Jesus. Even though Jesus Himself had spoken of it to them again and again, they had refused to believe it, and when it really took place all their dreams collapsed. Well, it did seem a strange way of winning the world--to accept defeat at its hands, to go down to death and shame, to suffer on a Cross! When the Apostles went about preaching Christ crucified, people laughed at their message. Paul talks about the "offence of the Cross." It seemed absurd to suggest that a person who died on the gibbet was the world's Saviour. The Cross was a stumbling-block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks. But this foolish, paradoxical method of saving and redeeming the world proved itself, in experience, to be the very power and wisdom of God.

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