1 Corinthians 1:18

The message of the cross is. . . the power of God.

Zhang was raised with, in his words, “no God, no religion, nothing.” In 1989, seeking democracy and freedom for his people, he helped lead students in peaceful protests. But the protests tragically led to the government’s intervention and hundreds of lives lost. For his part in the event, Zhang was placed on his country’s most-wanted list. After a short imprisonment, he fled to an outlying village where he met an elderly farmer who introduced him to Christianity. She had only a handwritten copy of the gospel of John but couldn’t read, so she asked Zhang to read it to her. As he did, she explained it to him—and a year later he became a believer in Jesus.

Through all he endured, Zhang sees that God was powerfully leading him to the cross, where he experienced firsthand what the apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians, “The message of the cross is . . . the power of God” (1:18). What many considered foolishness, a weakness, became Zhang’s strength. For some of us, this too was our thinking before we came to Christ. But through the Spirit, we felt the power and wisdom of God breaking into our lives and leading us to Christ. Today Zhang serves as a pastor spreading the truth of the cross to all who will hear.

Jesus has the power to change even the hardest of hearts. Who needs His powerful touch today?

By Alyson Kieda

REFLECT AND PRAY

How did you view the message of the cross before you received Christ as your Savior? Who might benefit from hearing your story? 

Jesus, thank You for leading me to You through the cross. I would be lost without You!

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

It’s believed that crucifixion originated in the sixth century bc and was in use as a punishment and crime deterrent until Constantine of Rome outlawed it in the fourth century ad. In Paul’s day, crucifixion was considered the very worst means of Roman execution, so repugnant that it wasn’t mentioned in polite company. Therefore, the idea that the Messiah died on a cross was offensive or ridiculous to most. However, Paul divided the world into two groups: those who consider the cross “foolishness” and those who view it as the “power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). What is “the message of the cross”? Jesus, an innocent man, willingly suffered crucifixion for crimes He didn’t commit to pay the price for our sins—and then rose again. All who turn to Him in sorrow for their wrongdoings will live eternally with Him. That’s the “power of God”!

Alyson Kieda

Additional Readings

Read 1 Corinthians 1:18 – 25

Bible in a Year: Job 1–2; Acts 7:22–43

Source: Our Daily Bread Ministries