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The logos of the stauros: folly?

Jesus Christ did not send me [Paul the apostle] to baptize but to preach the gospel – but not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the logos of the stauros is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1: 17, 18
 

Something rather illogical is happening, bit by bit, day by day, inch by inch, in Jersey and elsewhere, especially in Europe.

What is happening is that one particular “thing” – the logos of the stauros – see bold above - is increasingly being regarded by some – by more and more people – as complete and utter folly. Sometimes it feels as though everybody in Jersey, the UK and Europe thinks that way.

That particular “thing” – the logos of the stauros - used to be regarded (admittedly not by all) as the power of God. Truly, the power of Almighty God.

What is this thing about which opinion is so sharply divided – and changing rapidly? A “stauros” is the Greek word for an upright stake – including for a stake upon which the Roman authorities crucified their worst offenders. A “logos” is the Greek word for a word, a message, a communication.

The two together are shorthand for the proclamation within an event which took place in Jerusalem in AD 33 – the execution by crucifixion of Jesus Christ as the worst kind of criminal at the instance of those in authority there at that time. The word of the cross.
 
 
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‘The cross was not a tragic failure; it was a triumphant rescue.’ (Vaughan Roberts, President, Proclamation Trust)

But evidence is needed to substantiate the earlier assertion that the word of the cross is increasingly being regarded as “folly” in Jersey.  One recent event may suffice: the sale to a non-Christian religious group of Aquila Road Christian Chapel. The word of the cross will no longer be heard within those walls.

Why should the word of the cross be regarded as “folly”? Why regarded as “the power of God”?


So, first, the “folly”? We need to distinguish between the reasons being given as to why it is “folly” and the underlying reason for all the reasons being given. The given reasons for calling the word of the cross “folly” are some of these: (a) the cross never occurred; (b) the resurrection of Jesus is a fiction; (c) the crucifixion showed the weakness of Jesus, (d) the lack of self-assertion of Jesus is the last thing that will do me good.

What do you think might actually be the reason for these reasons? Is it possible that, deep down, they arise because folk don’t want to lose any autonomy, any self-determination, by having to submit to this man Jesus – something they would have to do if these things are true?

That seems to be correct because Paul the apostle, in writing to the Corinthian people (see bold above) reckoned that those who regarded the word of the cross as “folly” were those who were perishing, that is, those who were failing to re-connect with the very life of God, the author of life itself.

Then, second question, why should the word of the cross be regarded (admittedly not by all) as the power of God? Can there be any real power in a message about a stauros, a stake? Can there be any power in a message about a hangman’s noose? Or about a guillotine? Or about an electric chair?

Think about this parallel situation. Someone has hurt you badly. He has behaved immorally and illegally and has rejected you completely. He hates you and raises his fist at you whenever he sees you. Please will you now transfer to him all your wealth, all your property so as to bless him? Please do that with the express intention of forgiving him and restoring him. Please do that irrespective of whether or not he will turn back and be restored to you.
 
 
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‘What brought Jesus to the cross was ultimately not the authorities of the Jews and the Romans but God’s love and purposes.’ (Alex Luc, Columbia University, USA)

Will you do it? Do you have the power, within you, to do that?

That’s the power of God. He did it. As a man he did it.The sinless one was crucified on behalf of his worst enemies. He took their place – and bore the justice which was to have been theirs. That’s the message of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the logos of the stauros.
 
It (see bold above) is the power of God to those who are being saved – saved from themselves and their deeds.
 
Richard Syvret

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