The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.1 Corinthians 1:18 (NLT)
Have you ever received a back-handed compliment? For those that don’t know what that is, here’s a basic definition. A back-handed compliment is one in which it sounds both like a compliment and an insult. For example: “You are the best at coming in last.” Yeah, that doesn’t quite sound right, does it? These types of “compliments” are generally meant to hurt and put someone down.
When it comes to the message of the cross, it seems back-handed to many. Jesus was the best at dying? How is that a good thing? It seems foolish to many around the world. Why? Because they don’t understand the reason behind Jesus’s death on the cross.
The death on the cross overcame two deaths: a literal human death and a spiritual death. Human death we can understand. When someone gets old, or catastrophe happens, people die. It’s horrible. But, spiritual death is even worse. Spiritual death means that there is no hope at an afterlife upon God’s return. Jesus overcame both.
He took human death and overcame it. We will be raised from the dead if we die before He returns. The resurrection of Jesus on the third day following His crucifixion proves this.
He also destroyed spiritual death by removing the curse of our sins. Since we understand from Scripture that the penalty for sin is death (and we’re not just talking human death), Jesus took all of our sins upon His shoulders on the cross. He took our spiritual deaths with Him to the grave. When He rose from the dead, He left them there. They are no more. There is no more spiritual death if we accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross.
The cross seemed like foolishness to many (it still does). A man died so that others could have life? That doesn’t make sense.
Yet, there is victory in the foolishness. That One would die for everyone is mind-blowing. That One would die a human death on purpose seems crazy. That One would die a spiritual death in the place of others seems like madness. Yet the cross is the very power of God on display – His love poured out for us. That day on Calvary, He won for us a “foolish” victory.