Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, “For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ’I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’”
It can seem silly to gather around an instrument that was used to put so many to death. The romans would find any who spoke against them and would use the cross to execute them. It was a tool to make an example of a person: this is what happens when you challenge the roman emperor. Hundreds upon hundreds of Jewish zealots who rebelled against Roman in the late 50s and early 60s AD were crucified just outside the city of Jerusalem to show people this is what happens when you go against the might of Rome.
So for Paul to write about crucifixion as a means of victory seems foolish. For a citizen of Galilee, the day is lost when things end in crucifixion. That is how you know the rebellion is over. There is a bloodbath followed by mass executions of all leadership. The followers have been dispersed and the leaders have been nailed outside the wall to be an example to others who might follow suit. There is no one left. The cross to a roman means defeat, almost like the gallows for a pirate.
And so when God goes to death, especially on a cross, it looks like defeat for the budding Christ movement within the Jewish faith. The cross after all is an instrument of death and the Christ followers have been scattered. To anyone looking on this from the outside, Christians have been defeated and the leader executed. There is only a remnant left clinging to a pipe dream – one of them being Paul.
Yet God chose it to put the powerful to shame and to flip the wisdom of the day on its head. When God goes to death, it is not the end. It is the beginning. So here we are, two thousand years later, following in the footsteps of Paul, living the dream and proclaiming death has no victory because Christ has already won. Enjoy your week and keep living the dream!