Reading: 1 Corinthians 1: 18-31
Jesus did not fit into the mold that some people had. He did not meet their expectations, so they struggled to see Him as the Messiah. Even though the Jews were looking for a Messiah, Jesus did not match their vision, therefore He was rejected. The Greeks operated on wisdom and logic. A person cannot be argued into or convinced of belief. The miracles had to have some logical explanation. Jesus did not fit their mold either.
For the Jews, their history is full of big signs of God’s presence. The signs are often on the national scale. All of the firstborn die in Egypt – except the Jewish families were passed over. The manna and quail come for a long period of time to feed the whole nation in the desert. God sweeps in the Assyrians and then the Babylonians to deal with the nation’s sin. Perhaps Jesus giving sight to a blind man or raising one person from the dead were simply too small. These miracles did not fit into their understanding of God at work amongst the nation.
We are not too far removed from the Jews and Gentiles of Jesus’ day. Wisdom gets in the way of following Jesus all the time. We rationalize why we couldn’t possibly do this or that instead of stepping forth in faith. We think we know best and need to be in control instead of trusting in God’s lead. At times we demand signs too. We try and strike if-then deals – if You will do this Jesus, then I will… We want to see Jesus at work in the answer to our prayer or in the resolution to a situation and then we will…
The perspective had also changed. God’s covenant was with the nation of Israel and it covered individuals. This is how they wanted Jesus to act too. They wanted to see the Romans banished in one fell swoop, for example. But Jesus sought a personal relationship with each believer. Jesus sought a covenant with individuals that extends to the whole world. This is still what Christ seeks: a one-on-one relationship with each of us. This relationship is based upon faith, belief, trust, love… All are foundational. And all must be experienced. This is how the relationship begins and how it grows. These are our experiences that translate into ‘wisdom’ and ‘signs’. This is what we have to share with those in our lives who do not have a relationship with Jesus. Through each of us, may the world come to know Christ, one person at a time.