August 23

1 Corinthians 1:17-19 17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 18For 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. 19For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

The city of Corinth was one of great decadence. There were probably over 100,000 slaves that pulled boats across the peninsula. A great Greek temple there had 1000 prostitutes. To live in Corinth was a real challenge for Christians.

The Greek culture also brought with it intellectual heights that man had attained. The converts in Corinth brought with them some of their cultural problems. They were debating about who was a disciple of whom, just as the Greeks took pride in their favorite philosopher.

Paul began his letter to them by declaring that the Gospel is not an intellectual competition. It is about the power of God to transform our lives. They needed to get their eyes off the ministers of the Gospel and fix them on Jesus. The same can be said today. Do you follow Luther, Calvin, Wesley, or the Pope? It is not about the minister, but the One whom they are proclaiming. If the gospel were an intellectual attainment, the cross would have no meaning.

To the Greeks the thought of the cross being the way of salvation was intellectually laughable. To the Jews it was embarrassing, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. Though many try to make Christianity an intellectual religion, faith in God trusts in His determined will, even if we cannot comprehend His ways. Logic has its place. Christianity is very logical to the Christian, but to the intellect trained in this world's ways it is incomprehensible. Faith will always be required. Paul is telling the Corinthians to turn from worldly arguments that only separate us, and instead look to Jesus. He unites those who trust in Him.

Remember: The emphasis is always on the Savior, not His messenger.