I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2
Beethoven was angry. He’d intended to name his Third Symphony “The Bonaparte.” In an age of religious and political tyranny, he saw Napoleon as a hero of the people and champion of freedom. But when the French general declared himself emperor, the celebrated composer changed his mind. Denouncing his former hero as a rascal and tyrant, he rubbed so hard to erase Bonaparte’s name that he left a hole in the original score.
Early believers in Jesus must have been disappointed when their hopes of political reform were dashed. He’d stirred hopes of life without the tyranny of Caesar’s heavy-handed taxes and military presence. Yet, decades later, Rome still ruled the world. Jesus’ messengers were left with fears and weakness. His disciples were marked by immaturity and infighting (1 Corinthians 1:11–12; 3:1–3).
But there was a difference. Paul saw beyond what remained unchanged. His letters began, ended, and overflowed with the name of Christ. Christ resurrected. Christ with a promise to return in power. Christ in judgment of everything and everyone. First and foremost, however, Paul wanted believers in Jesus to be grounded in the meaning and implications of Him crucified (2:2; 13:1–13).
The love expressed in Jesus’ sacrifice made Him a different kind of leader. As Lord and Savior of the world, His cross changes everything. The name of Jesus will forever be known and praised above every name.
How is Jesus different from other leaders? Can you identify with Paul’s recall of his own weakness and fear? How does Jesus help you with that?
Father, please help me to see Your heart in the sacrifice of Your Son.
Paul recalls having a singular purpose when he first met his Corinthian readers (1 Corinthians 2:2). Without natural eloquence, brilliance, or self-confidence, he taught about a king and conqueror who’d allowed His enemies to crucify Him. As foolish as it must have sounded, Paul wanted them to join him in accepting, honoring, and never forgetting a God willing to be lifted on a criminal’s cross (1:13, 17–25; 2:2, 8). He reminds the Corinthians of why nothing makes more sense than to love God and one another. Because Jesus didn’t remain in the grave (ch. 15), what may at first sound foolish, deserves never to be forgotten.