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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Parnell

See the Power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18)

[For] the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. —1 Corinthians 1:18

What you see is not always what you get.

God has made the world with a wisdom that overturns our own. A foundational staple to this divine reality is that creatures do not determine what is truly wonderful. The most beautiful things are not immediately obvious. What may appear one way according to human definition may actually be something entirely different according to God.

Take this in for a moment. We do not run this place. What we may see and define one way doesn’t mean that is the way it is. We do not set the rules and operate the barometer of greatness. God does. And if we want to read this world as it really is, we look to Him.

Case in point: the word of cross—the truth that the glorious triumph of Jesus was achieved in His gruesome execution; that He saved the helpless by suffering ultimate helplessness.

This is the message—the picture of reality—that divides the world into two groups: those who call the cross folly and those who call the cross power. There are those who insist on a world where what they see is what they get. And there are those who submit to a reality containing more than what they can access in themselves.

The apostle Paul describes these two groups of people as those who are perishing and those who are being saved. The ones who are perishing reject the saving reality of Jesus’s death. “He was publicly shamed while being crucified,” they might say. The picture of a slaughtered savior just won’t do for them. A beaten, dying man hanging naked between two criminals doesn’t look like victory.

Actually, this is what we all would think. This is how we see that scene unless God comes and opens our eyes to its wonder (2 Corinthians 4:6).

God saves us by giving us eyes to comprehend the cross. And when we see it, when we are saved, the cross is the power of God. That dying man was dying for me. The wrath He absorbed was wrath against me. He was atrociously slain so that we would be amazingly saved. He breathed His last breath in the pain we deserved so that we would breath our first in the power He gives.

What you see is not always what you get.


For Reflection

  1. What is the basic description of the two different groups of people in verse 18?

  2. What event forms these two different groups?

  3. How do we go from “not seeing” to “seeing”?


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