The Foolishness and Power of the Cross

By Ted Esler

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)

Years ago, when I was serving in Bosnia, I had a conversation with a young Muslim man. He asked me why Christians wear a torture device around their necks. He suggested that we might consider hanging a small guillotine or an electric chair around our necks instead of a cross. “How strange,” he said, “that you would celebrate something that is about death and suffering.”

The suffering of Christ is built into the essence of redemption. Without death, there would be no resurrection. This is a hard, inescapable truth. It is foolishness to those outside the Kingdom. But to those who treasure the cross, it is power. The cross reminds us of Jesus’ empathy. We can endure suffering because he endured suffering. We have hope knowing that we, too, will be resurrected and united with him. We see the fulfillment of ancient promises in his sacrifice and suffering on the cross. The cross is not simply a symbol but is wrapped around and through redemptive history, inseparable, culminating, and core. It is indeed a wonderful cross.

This Resurrection Day let us celebrate the cross. Foolish to some, but the power of God to those who are being saved.

Ted Esler
Missio Nexus

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