The Message of the Cross

message

1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV  “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.”

Many years ago, when I was just a new and inexperienced Christian, I belonged to a Young Adult Youth Group at a Canadian Armed Forces base just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, that was mentored by a young Corporal ( John Stennett ) who is now a retired Anglican Priest and a retired Master Warrant Officer from the Canadian Armed Forces named Bruce Pringle, who is now with the Lord. Because my name was also Bruce, Bruce Pringle went by the name of “Bruce Senior” and I became “Bruce Junior”.

Bruce Senior was a very down to earth man, he’d been through some difficult times and had three children that he was raising by himself. Not only was Bruce very patient and accommodating to us new Christians but he was also very intelligent. Bruce’s mother had been a Christian and after Bruce had gone the way of the world, he later returned to the faith that his mother had witnessed to him as a youth. He had spent a lot of time investigating questions that we all had and he was a serious student of God’s Word. Not only did Bruce “talk the talk” but he also “walked the walk”. I dearly miss him.

One of the things that we did as a group every once is a while was go into Ottawa with a man named Len Perciphal (not sure if I have that spelled correctly) who had taken his truck and written a whole bunch of Bible verses on it, and we would “preach” on a street corner in the city of Ottawa. I remember Bruce telling us how a man had come up to him at one of these “preaching” events and said to him, “You look like an intelligent individual, how is it that you are associated with this foolishness?” Bruce responded, “I am associated with what you perceive as foolishness, precisely because I am an intelligent man.”

Because I used to also think that anyone who “believed in the Bible” or had “become caught up in this religion thing”, had somehow lost touch with reality, I am aware of the thoughts that can go through an unbeliever’s mind when the foolishness of the message of the cross is presented. These thoughts go something like what I have paraphrased below, they may differ a bit but the essence of some of the thoughts go something like this:

  • These people actually believe that the Bible is God’s Word. Come on, everybody knows it’s just a bunch of fables.
  • These people have taken the story of Jesus and have become fanatical about it. They’ve really lost touch with reality.
  • Believing in God is one thing but these people are taking this way too far.
  • Science has already explained to us how what you see is what you get, these people are believing these things because they want to believe it, not because it’s actually true.
  • I’m suspecting that most of them are probably a little on the simple side, not the brightest collection of humanity.

I could argue each of the aforementioned suppositions held by unbelievers but I’m not going to. Besides, the responses to all of these unfounded suppositions have all been more than adequately addressed by individuals who are more than qualified to address them (PhDs in most cases) . You can find some of these “responses” on my “Christian Resources” web page.

What I do want you to do is put yourself in the place of “Peter”.  Pretend that you’re “Peter” if you will. Peter, as you may recall, was the fisherman who ended up following Jesus.

And, just so you know, almost all scholars today acknowledge that Jesus Christ is an historical figure, that He actually lived over two thousand years ago. Historically speaking, that question is not really open for debate. There is more than ample historical evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ.

SETTING THE STAGE
Now I need to set the stage, so to speak, for you. Peter was Jewish. The Old Testament scriptures that Peter was familiar with spoke of a coming Messiah, a special “Anointed One” from God who they thought, was going to change the status of the Jews who where under the control and dominion of the Roman Empire authorities. The Jews of Peter’s time, where looking for the coming of the Messiah.

Simon Peter, also known as Cephas (John 1:42), was one of the first followers of Jesus Christ. Simon was originally from Bethsaida (John 1:44) and lived in Capernaum (Mark 1:29), both cities on the coast of the Sea of Galilee. He was married (1 Corinthians 9:5), and he and James and John were partners in a profitable fishing business (Luke 5:10). Simon met Jesus through his brother Andrew, who had followed Jesus after hearing John the Baptist proclaim that Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:35-36). Andrew immediately went to find his brother to bring him to Jesus. Upon meeting Simon, Jesus gave him a new name: Cephas (Aramaic) or Peter (Greek), which means “rock” (John 1:40-42). Later, Jesus officially called Peter to follow Him, producing a miraculous catch of fish (Luke 5:1-7). Immediately, Peter left everything behind to follow the Lord (verse 11).

WHAT PETER SAW AND EXPERIENCED

  • Peter heard all the teachings and explanations of spiritual reality that Jesus gave.
  • Peter saw the miracles that Jesus performed.
  • Peter saw Jesus walking on the surface of the water and for a short time was able to do the same (Matthew 14:22-36 NIV).
  • Peter saw Jesus transfigured (Mark 9:2-9 NIV)
  • Peter hears God the Father speak from Heaven about His Son Jesus (2 Peter 1:18 NIV)
  • Peter saw Jesus calm the storm at sea (Matthew 8:23-27 NIV)
  • Peter denied knowing Jesus when questioned after Jesus’s arrest.
  • Peter saw Jesus get arrested and knew that Jesus had been crucified (possibly watched from afar) and had died.
  • Peter sees Jesus more than once after He is resurrected from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-7 NIV).
  • Peter becomes the main spokesperson in Jerusalem about Jesus Christ, the Messiah, having been raised from the dead and offering eternal life to all who believe (Acts chapters 2-5 NIV)

SUMMARY
The above are just the highlights, there’s a lot more, but it’s pretty easy to see that the reality of the resurrected Jesus totally changed the Apostles, including Peter. I asked you to put yourself in Peter’s place. How would that affect you? If you heard what Peter heard and saw what Peter saw, and experienced what Peter experienced, do you think that you could go back to life as usual? And it wasn’t just Peter who changed, all of the Apostles radically changed and then of course, there’s the Apostle Paul.

Peter and the rest of the Apostles didn’t go back to life as usual and as believers, neither can we.

Foolishness . . . to the ways of the world that deny God’s existence, that deny who Jesus was and is and what He has done for us, sure…. it’s foolishness, but to us who believe, it is in fact the power of God. Don’t write off or reject who you’ve never really seriously looked at. Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus was and is God’s Son and He came for a purpose, with a message.

John 3:16 NIV  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About

Disciple of Jesus, married to Peggy, with 5 grown up children, 7 grand children, ex-Canadian military and residing in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. a.k.a. "Papa"

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Posted in Apologetics, Defending Christianity, Faith, Witnessing
15 comments on “The Message of the Cross
  1. The truth is always foolishness to those who are perishing, blind and deaf to the true reality. Thank you, Bruce for adding another blessing to my week, after yesterday’s sermon. Anyone who does not understand the Christian language, hearing it, would freak out. I would love to share it with you if you want a link. To whet your appetite, “How does the last verse of Hebrews 12 connect to the first of Chapter 13:.”Our God is a consuming fire. Let brotherly love continue?” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce says:

      Hi Frances, can you put in the link via here in comments? I’m think the Holy Spirit but just guessing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bruce says:

        Thanks Frances, I check it out tomorrow!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bruce says:

        Well Francis, I don’t really know where to start. God has shown me glimpses of much which was in that sermon already and I think the most troubling aspect is not only what I see in others, but also what I see in me. It’s even come to the point that sometimes I am afraid to open my mouth in prayer, because of what resides within me and I ask our Lord to do His work in me, in spite of me. There is enough meat within that sermon to do ten sermons, at a minimum. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. There’s events going on in my life right now with me and my unsaved daughter (narcissistic personality disorder) and it has been extremely difficult and the me in me surfaced yesterday because of what she put my wife through recently and it wasn’t my finest hour. Please keep me in your prayers, that God’s will would prevail, in spite of me and that His love would triumph. Grace and blessings as always.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bruce, I am blessed that you are blessed by the Word that our Lord speaks through His servant. Prayers are going up now for you and your family. Blessings as you know His presence, love and power within you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bruce says:

        Thanks Frances, sincerely appreciated.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bruce says:

        I took the liberty of sharing the link you sent me in a post I put out today, hope you don’t mind. If that is your church Frances, you are indeed blessed.

        Like

  2. bcparkison says:

    Yes!!! and continue to pray for unbelievers because time is short.shorter than it has ever been.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. SLIMJIM says:

    We need more older Bruce. Come to think of it you are one yourself

    Liked by 1 person

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