Weekly Devotional – 1 Corinthians 1:1-2

“1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” — 1 Corinthians 1:1-2 (NIV)

The Scripture above reminded me of a quote from Jurgen Moltmann in his famous book The Crucified God. He said, “Which God motivates Christian faith: the crucified God or the gods of religion, race and class?” In other words, who is running the show? For Paul, he oriented himself to the God revealed in Christ at the cross with all that that says about us, sin, love, forgiveness, the Father, Jesus, and the final end of all things. He didn’t want to shift too far towards a theology of glory, resurrection, and victory where the reality of the cross, sin, death, and loss are completely overshadowed. The cross was able to center and orient Paul in a world where disorientation is so easy to fall into.

It’s interesting that Moltmann asked not, “Which God motivates the world?” Or “Which God motivates the surrounding culture?” He asked, “Which God motivates Christian faith…? Without even realizing it, we so easily slip into the mother tongue of the broader culture. We become obsessed with speaking in the ways that others speak. We begin to draw our identity, our understanding of humanity, sin, etc. not from the crucified One, but from things along the lines of what Moltmann alludes to. Racial identities, class identities, religious identities, consumer identities, political identities, gender identities, and so on. We’re still going to church, maybe even still leading small groups or outwardly serving, but we’ve left the crucified one behind. The cross is in our rear-view mirror. 

As we begin the season of Lent, let’s re-center on the crucified one.