Thursday, 17 August 2017

There’s just one powerful way to God

“For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”        (1 Corinthians 1:18)

A young man once spoke to Kate Booth, daughter of General Booth of the Salvation Army.  Kate – dubbed by the French with a military title (‘La Marechale’) - was drawing immense crowds by her inspired speaking.

“Marechale,” asked her enquirer, “I want the power that you speak of.  Please pray for me.”

“Where is the Cross in your life?” challenged Kate.  To her, the very power of God lay precisely in the Cross of Christ (The Heavenly Witch, 1981).

The question inevitably arises; How do WE see the Cross?  On which side of it are we standing – that of grateful understanding - or apathetic ignorance? On the side of personal acceptance - or cold rejection?  

The Cross - foolishness or wisdom?

To the citizens of Corinth, the Cross was utter ‘foolishness’ - the Greek word used is moron.  The Greeks were looking for a world-view based on thinkers such as Plato.  The Rev Gordon Bridger, former Principal of Oak Hill College, was once - like the Marechale - asked a question; this time for a useful book on ‘Philosophy.’  Gordon answered “The best book on Philosophy that I know is John’s Gospel.  You’ll find what you’re wanting right there.”  While to the world of the ancient Greeks Plato was essential reading, today Plato is read only by the esoteric few, while John’s Gospel continues to lead millions of people to the Cross - and to peace with God.  On which side of the Cross are WE standing?

The Cross - weakness or strength?

To the apostle Paul’s Jewish contemporaries – as against the Greeks - a crucified Messiah was a total disgrace!  What they were interested in was power. They failed to see what millions later saw - that out of the supposed ‘weakness’ of Christ’s death came the power over human guilt and even death itself.  As Augustine of old observed, ‘What a death – that gave death its death-blow!’ Again…  On which side of the Cross are WE standing?

The Cross - offence or essence?
Across 2,000 years, followers of Christ have found both ‘wisdom’ and ‘power’ - in one and the same Person.  His saving death is the key. Whether this means nothing to you, or everything that you ever hoped for, depends on your answer to a simple question:  On which side of the Cross are YOU standing?