Paul was not the typically sophisticated and self confident cultured orator. Everything we see of Paul in these 5 verses of our reading today speak to his heartfelt desire to promote nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified because Paul understood that the cross was more than just a way of salvation; it also informed the way he viewed the life of a disciple. This approach of Paul was one of simple use of words that clearly conveyed the truth of the Gospel of Jesus through the image of the Cross and he recognised that much of what he spoke would be considered by others as weak, ineffective and void of wise persuasive oration. Never the less, Paul would let the Spirit of God ‘do the talking’ (vs 4) because he understood that people would be eternally persuaded of the truth of the gospel by the demonstrated power of the Spirit. There is something very persuasive in Pauls choice of terminology – “And so it was for me”. Paul was clear that the message of the gospel must be delivered in such a way as to NOT draw attention away from the message of the Cross because he was convinced that the power of the gospel lay in the reality that all the work was done by God, and not through human effort. This approach extends to the selection of words used as well as the attitude behind the proclamation.
What does this mean for us as we reflect on the centrality of the Cross, in the message of Jesus the Messiah? Essentially, the gospel demonstrates God’s power not human wisdom or strength. And in so doing, reinforces the reality that faith is something that not only comes from God but also it in fact rests on God’s power; faith is powerful because it is a gift from God. We need to be willing to relinquish any sense of our own righteousness in order to experience the righteousness of God that is in Christ Jesus.