Knowing Jesus

1 Corinthians 2:2 “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 

Was the Apostle Paul crazy when he wrote to the members of this church in Corinth? Or was he simply exaggerating? Consider for a moment the issues in Corinth. This congregation drew up the original blueprint for “cliquiness” in a Christian church. They divided themselves into groups based on their favorite apostle. Divisions separated rich and poor members. Some even took fellow members to court to sue them.

The church in Corinth had trouble rejecting the pagan sexual practices of their culture. Some still visited the Greek temple prostitutes. They were confused about God’s principles for marriage, divorce, and remarriage.  The more gifted members used the spiritual gifts God had given them in a loveless way. Basic Christian doctrines came under attack. A few claimed that there is no resurrection of the dead.

These issues prompted Paul to write his letter. Now he almost seems to be bragging as he writes, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”  Didn’t he care about all the division and confusion? Wasn’t it obvious that these people needed solutions? 

Paul understood the situation perfectly. On the pages that follow he convicted the Corinthians of their sins and guided them in God’s will. But he also knew what these people needed more than anything else. The real cure for all their ills was knowing Jesus Christ and him crucified. Without him, nothing else he had to say mattered. With him, these people had God’s single sufficient solution to all life’s problems. 

Knowing Jesus still equips us to deal with our first problem: sin. Like the people in Corinth, we haven’t stopped sinning. But when we do sin, Jesus gives us a place to go with it. We can confess it to him. He takes it from us and disposes it at the cross. Knowing Jesus Christ and him crucified means knowing that Jesus has taken my place, paid for my sin with his blood, reconciled me to God, and carried me up to the very doors of heaven. 

Knowing Jesus is everything we need. His grace gives us access to God’s power and help. It doesn’t merely lecture us about what’s right and what’s wrong. It changes us from within. That doesn’t mean all problems suddenly vanish. In some ways they may even multiply. Remember Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount?  “Blessed are you when men insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” 

Knowing Jesus and his grace at the cross lays the foundation for confronting every false belief and selfish behavior. It may not prevent these problems from ever making an appearance, but it equips us to deal with them they do.

By all means, get to know God’s full message to you in the Scriptures. But above all, know Jesus Christ and him crucified.

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