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The folly of the Gospel of the Cross for some

Author:  Sakkie Parsons
Translated from Afrikaans
Translator:  Robin Barker

For the reason that people have spoken to me about this matter, I feel I must write something in this regard.

I am talking here about, on the surface, the illogicalness of our Religion to the unbeliever, or as some people say, the “plain stupidity” of it.

How is it possible that some people suffer financially, but if you ask him/her how it is going, you may receive the following answer: “Good, because our Lord provides for us.”

Or you ask someone with a physical imperfection/disability: “How are things going?” and you may receive an answer: “God is on the throne and all is going well.”

Or what we read in the following section from the Word:

HAB 3:17  Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
HAB 3:18  yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.

How absurd does this sort of religion look, just “plain stupid,” or as someone let me understand, “foolish,” that it forced my great hero Paul to write on occasion:

1COR 1:18   For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The New Life Version (NLV) states it at follows:

1COR 1:18  Preaching about the cross sounds foolish to those who are dying in sin. But it is the power of God to those of us who are being saved from the punishment of sin.

Come let me explain to you how I look at this “foolishness”. First read this:

JOHN 11:1-7
1  Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
2  (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)
3  So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4  When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
5  Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
6  So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,
7  and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

Here are a few things that we can look at to understand why people who have the right relationship with our Lord, can find such an absolutely lovely appeasement and a passionate fulfilment in the Gospel of the cross; the true Gospel of the cross which is so foolish to the world.

If you read JOHN 11:3-6 and other sections about these family members, you will see that Jesus had an intimate relationship with this family, so much so that the messenger did not even have to mention Lazarus’s name:

JOHN 11:3  So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

Bear in mind that Jesus, who is also God Almighty, could anyway have prevented Lazarus, for whom Jesus loved, firstly from becoming sick and then when Lazarus became ill, Jesus could have healed him without going to him, but, not only did Jesus allow him to become ill, not only did Jesus do nothing when “the one you love” became deadly ill, He let a couple of days pass before He did anything about it:

JOHN 11:6  So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,

So much so, that when He arrived by the family with whom He had this intimate loving relationship, He must have heard:

JOHN 11:39  “Take away the stone,” he said.  “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.”

So, what was the outcome of this piece of history?

JOHN 11:43  When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
JOHN 11:44  The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Now, no matter how long eternity will last, yes, for forever and always, there will be an on-going testimony over this family and him, for whom Jesus does and still loves, that our Lord could use them for His honour and His glorification:

JOHN 11:4  “ …. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

What a great honour! What an absolutely wonderful God that used them for His glorification.

You see – that is why the Gospel of the cross is the power of God to me.  That is the reason why I can believe and proclaim it – even if it is so illogical on the surface and to the unbeliever as someone put it, an ‘obscene’ thing.

2COR 4:8  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
2COR 4:9  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Because I definitely know – Even though the circumstances around me may be dark like a dark smelly grave. Yes, even if my own situation smells badly:

ISA 55:8  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

He will at the right time sort out my problem, just as He also did for Lazarus’s situation, because He tells me in His Word:

ROM 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

For me this is a part of the great glory of the Gospel of the cross:

When I ask our Lord something, He will do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, as it should be done, if it must be done.

In the meantime I have the privilege of being an instrument in the glorification of my God.

That is why I together with my great hero Paul rejoice joyfully from within my heart outwardly when I think about this - that I received the mercy/grace from our Lord, that He sent a person to me, to also tell me about this wonderful Gospel:

ROMANS 11:33-36 
33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been his counsellor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Email: bediening@sakkieparsons.co.za
Website: www.sakkieparsons.co.za
Cell:  083 457 6669    

Jude 1:24-25 „To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy, to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (TNIV)”

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“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – 25 to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." Jude 1:24-25