1 Corinthians 2:1-5. And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
The super-spiritualists of Corinth may have wanted a grandiose display from Paul. They wanted a philosopher to woo them with mysteries and secret knowledge, not a sweaty leather worker preaching about the messy death of Jesus. They most likely downplayed the cross, maybe even rarely mentioning it anymore. Why should they? They had amazing spiritual gifts and a whole lot of knowledge. So why offend people with the message of the cross?
But what they lacked in all of the “spirituality” was the true spirituality of the love of the cross. The willingness to lay down their lives for one another. The power to get beyond their selfishness and move toward each other in grace and humility. The wisdom to know how to be patient and kind and gentle, all from the freedom that comes in having been already crucified yourself, and found not guilty and raised to new life.
The cross is what they desperately needed. Not rhetoric. Not principles. Not morals. Not philosophy. They needed to understand their union with Christ and their union with one another. They needed to attach their story to THE story- the story of God’s sacrificial love for us revealed in Christ’s death and resurrection.
This comes by the Spirit (v.4). The Spirit is not giving us anything beyond what the cross supplies. There is no spiritual wisdom or power beyond Christ crucified and your co-crucifixion with him. The resurrection power of the Spirit in us is the power of the crucified life, the power of self sacrifice, the power of selfless love. And this power is manifested in Paul’s weakness. Paul came to them in weakness, and the Spirit showed up and demonstrated the power of the cross. The power of love.
“To live is Christ” makes the cross central to all we say and do. It is not just HIS story it is now OUR story. It is all we really can know for sure. It is ultimate reality. It is our very own death and life. It changes the course of all of history and makes all things new. Including us. The cross is all you need. You don’t need more answers or more relational advice beyond the cross. You need to embrace the power of the forgiveness and love of the cross and you need to live the cruciform life- the life of self sacrifice for those around you. You need to embrace both the humility (you are wicked) and the glory (you are loved) of the cross. You don’t need one more self-help book. You don’t need more sermons about claiming things. You don’t need a pep talk or an hour with candles and soft music. The wisdom and power of the weakness and sacrifice of the cross is all you need.
Do you believe this? Have you purposed to know nothing but Christ and him crucified? Do you view all of life through this lens? Do you find yourself still looking for something from God beyond the cross? What if the cross was all you had, would it be enough for you?