Sunday, March 17, 2013
1Cor. 2:1 ¶ When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom.
1Cor. 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
1Cor. 2:3 And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.
1Cor. 2:4 My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
1Cor. 2:5 so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.
Paul highlights the centrality of his ministry in this passage to the Corinthians. "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified." Paul had come to know Christ in a very personal and intimate way. His faith was built upon the foundation of that relationship with Christ, nothing more, nothing less. Therefore when he proclaimed the things that he had come to know in relation to his faith, it was Jesus Christ. What he realized was that everything in his life revolved around that relationship. His ministry, his preaching all flowed from the fount of that relationship.
The result was powerful for it had nothing to do with his human and/or earthly abilities, but instead the power of God that flowed through him. It was in the centrality of the relationship with Jesus Christ that Paul discovered power through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was working in and through him and empowering his ministry which became transformational. All of this because his one overarching desire in life was to know Christ.
It is Sunday morning and my mind is on these Scriptures but also on the day that lies ahead. I will be preaching in just a few hours, bringing the Word of God to a congregation. There are plenty of times that I worry about the presentation, the structure, etc. and yet, I really want it all to be about Christ. I want to be able to join with Paul in saying that all I want to know is "Jesus Christ, and him crucified." Sometimes it's the good things in life that become a distraction to truly knowing him. However, I find him waiting for me on a daily basis, beckoning me to come and simply sit with him and share my heart with him.
There is nothing more important in life than to know Christ. Knowing Christ must be the foundation for every single activity of life. It doesn't matter if we are preachers, lawyers or teachers. Our vocation does not define who we are spiritually. Our personal relationship with Jesus Christ is what defines us spiritually. When Jesus Christ becomes the central feature of our lives, every activity, every response, every behavior will be measured in terms of Christ.
Jesus Christ and Christlikeness was the goal for the Apostle Paul and should be the goal for each and every single one of us today and as we enter into that relationship with Christ, we also participate in him. Paul experienced this as the power of the Spirit was experienced and revealed in and through his life. Paul's connectedness with Christ was through the Holy Spirit and this became a channel for the unleashing of the very power of God in Paul's ministry. The resurrection power of Jesus Christ was poured out in Paul's life as a result of his intimacy in knowing Christ.
As I step into a pulpit today my desire is not that human wisdom is portrayed but that the power of the Spirit is unleashed through knowing Christ.
Lord, this is your day, your work, your ministry. Please, help me to know you more. Amen.