23 “but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness…”
but we preach Christ crucified,
The word “preach” is the action of a herald so the message is God’s, not the preacher. The word “preach” means to make an announcement or declaration of something of importance.
The Romans crucified thousands of people. There was nothing unique in crucifixion itself but there is something unique in Christ’s crucifixion. He was the God-man who came to die for sin. The Greek for “crucified” indicates that the work of Jesus stands as permanent in its effect and efficacy. This is the heart and soul of the message of Jesus Christ. This truth was a problem to both Jews and Greeks.
to the Jews a stumbling block
The crucified Christ was a “stumbling block” to the Jews. A stumbling block was first used as the part of the trap to which they attached the bait. Then later, it came to mean the trap itself—an occasion of offense. The finished work of work was a hindrance to current Jewish doctrine. They expected a triumphant Messiah who would establish a kingdom but Christ was a crucified Messiah.
and to the Greeks foolishness,
The Greek view of the cross was different from the Jews; they viewed it as foolishness. There was no way they could squeeze a crucified Christ into their system of thinking.
God’s method for reaching those without Christ is to declare the message.
Biblical evangelicalism is one of declaration of the crucifixion of Christ for our sins. God’s method for winning the lost does not cater to their system or criterion for coming to truth. God uses His own system for reaching them. The content of the cross convicts of sin and supernaturally touches the heart. This flies in the face of much of evangelism today. We want to do anything but tell the essential meaning of the gospel. Christ is the personal instrument of our salvation. God’s wisdom and power extends far beyond the finite capacity of man to comprehend. God’s power and wisdom can only be found in God and from God because it comes from His eternal counsel before the world began. God’s plan centers on the person and work of Christ. This plan so transcends man’s capacity to understand that God does not attempt to stoop to man’s method for determining truth. God uses His own plan. Since God’s capacity is infinite and the capacity of man is finite, there is no way man can fully comprehend God so God reduces His plan to the simple message of Christ crucified.
Acceptance of the death of Christ for the individual is the beginning of the plan of God for the individual. The believer understands that God is perfect and can only accept perfect people in His presence. No one is perfect (Ro 3:10,23) so God declares believers perfectly righteous because of the death of Christ for every sin, past, present, and future. God’s plan is, therefore, based on His essence and character. That is why it is foolish for finite man to figure it out.