"And I, when I came to you brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message where not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."
Confession time. This week I have very little desire to post. I slacked on my study in the last few days. I have been really very busy and am tired and would like to sleep. It is finally Friday and I feel it. Usually, when it comes time to post, I have spent at least a few hours preparing: reading, outlining, praying, talking things over with Jake. Usually, I am pretty excited to share (or maybe show off) what the Lord has been teaching me. I feel like I will be well spoken and my words will convict and I will be a blessing to those who read me. It's just like the Lord to bring me to a place where I feel completely inadequate the week I learn about the insignificance of man next to the power of God.
This passage is a continuation from the last chapter. Paul explained how the foolishness of the gospel message makes much of God's wisdom and about how the insignificance of the people God chooses makes into nothing the lofty of the world. Here, Paul remarks on the fact that it is his own weakness that reveals the power of God.
Pride is such a simple sin. One minute a preacher can be stoked on how beautiful Jesus is. The next he is trying to think about how best to present that beauty to others. And the next, he is relying on his own eloquence to reveal that beauty to the hearts of man. Men of God through history have had good intentions (saving lost souls) but rely on so many things other than the Spirit to touch the world. Whether it's through fear, logic or even promises of an easy life, we so easily place the burden of salvation on our own shoulders.
Paul goes in the opposite direction. "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified". The gospel is wonderful on it's own. It does not need special words to make it powerful. Paul even says that he spoke in words that seemed unwise and impossible so that if people heard and responded it would be "in demonstration of the Spirit and of power". Again this is all for one reason. That in doing so Paul would not be seen at all. That in talking in this way, in laying down his own pride, people would come to see God as He really is. Powerful! The Corinthians found it easy to follow men because of outward style. But we are called for follow God and rest in His power. The only power that calls us, saves us, and seals us for our good and His glory.