1 Corinthians 1:18-25
In a philosophy class one of the first things we were asked was that if a tree falls in the forest but no one was there did it really fall?
I would say yes, but more importantly, who cares?
Don’t get me wrong I like pondering over things and when I used to visit my Father, Cathy tells me she and my mum would say “well that’s politics and sport done and so only religion to go.”
Philosopher “sizing” about things can be interesting, eye opening and fun and yet, without the gift of the Holy Spirit the smartest philosophers in the world can’t tell us a thing about God’s love.
A person could read about human beings and their great love stories in a novel, but still not know that God’s love is deeper and higher than any human love
We could study the rich variety of trees and animals, the seas and its creatures, the stars and black holes in space, and anything else in the universe caused by the creative genius of God.
But these majestic pieces of the cosmos still can’t tell us that the real essence of God the Father who is a God of Love.
One could philosophise and knowingly say, “Whoever designed and caused the human beings to live on this planet must have been more than super ingenious and whoever created the stars and space and time has it all perfect, and must be the finest and most powerful craftsman ever.” All true.
One might also conclude that God is not only supremely powerful, but at the same time cruel, the way death is part of nature and human existence. So then, in that manner-no, creation does not show us the God of love.
We really can only know the full depth of God’s love by looking at the cross.
That the all-powerful God would personally go to be crucified for you and me is shattering, mind blowing stuff. The cross teaches us more about God the creator than any study about his creation.
On the cross we see God seemingly at his weakest. People do with him what they like! The spit on him, mock him, humiliate him, whip him, and God bleeds.Only a few nails hold him to the cross. God is held by a handful of nails to the timber – part of his own creation.
There God dies, seemingly as weak as the day he came into the world.
Our Saviour Jesus who entered the world a helpless baby. Who depended on a couple of humans called Mary and Joseph to look after him and keep him alive only to leave the world helpless, along with a couple of criminals for company who also hang and die on several pieces of wood.
Yet in that picture of the cross we see the love of God reaching out to all types of people.
The love of God that continually in our confused lives reaches out to you and me that we know that:“The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
There, on the cross, we see what our sin has done to God and what it can do to us.
We destroy the genius who designed us and gave us life: the same one who brought us into this world and gave us the freedom to enjoy it with him, and with one another.
The freedom to reject him and drive him out so we can claim the universe for ourselves, and keep all the glory and praise for ourselves.
Would we willingly let anything we made turn on us and destroy us. No we’d use force. If we invented human beings we’d keep full control. Humans would be like puppets that couldn’t move unless we pulled the strings. To our way of thinking it is foolish of God to let people think for themselves, or have the power to turn on God.
Yet the one with all the power, God the Father doesn’t rule people by force but chooses to win people by his divine love.
God prefers people to show love and praise and trust rather than rule with an iron fist.
God chose to enter the world in Jesus so he could be close to us, and we could be close to him. He came because he cares.
Our weakest point is our selfishness and can separate us from God. So God chose the cross to meet us in our weakness. His Son Jesus given to us in love, who came to us in love so we would never be separated from God and his love again.
God could use his power to wipe out the human race. He could send a terrible disease that doesn’t respond to any treatment; or a meteor that would smash the world and destroy all human life. But God chooses to use a cross, made of wood. A cross the same as any other cross the Romans used for executing criminals.
And yet on this one hangs the Son of God. The Son of God taking our places.
To those there. The Son of God, yer right. The apostles after following Jesus seeing miracles of untold power and words of mighty love and wisdom see him seemingly defeated and ask themselves “what was that?”
Given the circumstances a fair enough question.
Yet they would soon understand as we have that God chooses that way to show his loving concern for them, for you and for me. Our God who wants to win people by his love, and not by brutal force.
The cross of Jesus is the place we see the power of human sin. Our sin that was so great in God’s eyes that Jesus went ahead and paid for it even before we were born.
Things happen in our lives that we simply don’t understand and often unfairly God gets the blame.
He understands that sometimes we would like a puppet master God who clears the path by forcing us this or that way but we all know how that works out when we are told not to do something without understanding why, we try to do it or at the least become resentful of our inequality of freedom.
But if we really just think for a moment: if there were no cross of Jesus, then the song “Amazing Grace” wouldn’t exist. And Amazing grace it is-and it’s our grace. It’s your grace and no matter what we think of ourselves or each other.
In belief in Jesus Christ as your saviour, my saviour-We are saved. And that is: The peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding. Amen.