Knowing Nothing but Christ
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. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4 My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.
Could there be anyone more eloquent or intellectual than Paul? He could have argued theology with Greek leaders better than anyone and yet, he intentionally made the focus of his testimony Jesus Christ, and him crucified. The argument really didn’t need to be fancy, it simply needed to point in the direction of the incarnate God, revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection were the pivotal moments for all of time and eternity and Paul knew this truth. Anything else about which he could argue would be frivolous in light of God becoming man.
It was far too easy to become proud and self-confident in the world. This was not God’s plan for humanity and Paul was committed to pointing people in the direction of Christ. Human wisdom was fleeting, but the mystery of Paul’s testimony was Christ. There is no need to strive for human wisdom, but to know Jesus because in knowing him, all mysteries will be revealed. The Corinthians may have been embarrassed by this simple faith, but it was the direction in which Paul wanted to take them, because there is no power in human wisdom, only through the demonstration of the Spirit. Chrysostom tells us, “Faith not only gave them the truth, it also encouraged them to glorify God.” (Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians, 6.3) There was nothing to know but Christ!
I’m not sure that the temptations have changed that much since the time of Paul. Even today we become concerned about what others think about us. We don’t want to fail in their eyes, nor do we want to be embarrassed. Sometimes sticking our necks out in faith can seem a little embarrassing when all the world is working hard to look and sound so knowledgeable. And yet, God is asking us to move forward in our lives in simple faith.
There is nothing more important than knowing Christ, and him crucified. Jesus must be the central focus of our day, no matter where we may find ourselves. Whether we are working in the home or office, laboring or relaxing, we ought to know nothing but Christ. Christ is present in the Spirit as we go about our daily activities. Therefore even when we are interacting with others we want to know Christ. I want to know Christ in you and through you. I want you to know Christ because of how I act and/or respond.
If I am overly concerned about my own reputation, I will not know Christ. If I want my life to point in the direction of him — if I want others to know him — then I will be willing to live a life of simple faith. It may not always be filled with eloquent speech or incredible personal skill, but I want to know nothing more than Christ. He is the focus of all things and only through knowing him and pointing toward him can I live my life in the world in the power of God. His work is transformative in and through us as we get to know Christ.
Lord, please help the distractions be few that I might keep my focus clearly on you. Amen.