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1 Corinthians 2:1-4

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

(verse 2)


“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” … “At the Cross” … “Nothing But The Blood” … “Jesus Paid It All” … “Near the Cross” … “The Old Rugged Cross” … “There is a Fountain” … “There is a Green Hill Far Away”

How many hymns I grew up with – these and many more – find their sole focus in this one theme? The cross of Jesus.

How many simple church buildings, without any architectural distinction, are adorned with this single marker? The cross.

How many sermons have been preached? How many lives transformed? How many sins forgiven? At the cross.

For the Apostle Paul, student of the scriptures, brilliant theologian, redeemed persecutor, this was the place he took his stance. He planted himself firmly at the cross of Jesus.

In many ways, humanly speaking, this put him at a huge disadvantage. As he told us in the previous chapter, the cross was not a winning entre to anyone in the ancient world. It was a symbol of profound shame and weakness and powerlessness. It commanded no respect. “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks” (1 Corinthians 1:22-23). Indeed, for Paul himself, the cross had originally been the indisputable confirmation (signed, sealed and delivered) that Jesus was definitely not the Christ, the Son of the Living God. For Paul knew the Old Testament scripture which pronounced judgement: “anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse” (Deuteronomy 21:23). For Paul this sealed the matter. Case decided. Jesus was most truly cursed.

But then, of course, he met the risen Lord himself on the Damascus Road. He understood Jesus’ Lordship. His own understanding was overturned, indeed turned inside out, every strand of it. He saw that the crucifixion was substitutionary, that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). The cross, for Paul, became a beacon of hope.

For Jews and Greeks the cross was naturally offensive. But Paul could never now back away, for he had grasped its profound wisdom: for “those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God(1 Corinthians 1:24).

He had nothing else to offer. He wanted nothing else to get in the way. Therefore, said Paul, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

So, too, for us. When our accomplishments and good deeds seem to mount up, stoking a confidence in our own right standing – put them aside. Turn to the cross. When our sins and failures and rebellious actions and wayward imaginings seem overwhelming, decisively condemning – put them aside. Turn to the cross.

No other argument. No other plea. It is enough that Jesus died. And that he died for me.


Lord Jesus, thank you for the sheer simplicity of the good news. I rejoice in you. I embrace your crucifixion. All is accomplished. No other sacrifice is needed. The curse is removed. “It is finished.” Praise your name.



Find a favourite hymn of the cross, or contemporary worship song. Sing it over and over today, giving Jesus thanks every time. Plant yourself at the cross.


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