Sermons

Winkel—Holy Cross Observed (1 Cor 1:18–25; Jn 12:20–33)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

We’re all a bunch of fools! We’re morons! Can you think of anything more ridiculous than what we do? There isn’t much, according to the “wisdom of the world.” Those who are high and lofty, those who are wise, those who are strong, those who are something, want to be something, can be something may grant some foolishness—foolishness for the sake of entertainment. Society needs people who make life not so serious, after all. Comedians, actors, entertainers, magicians, circus ringmasters. Funny. Not fools.

But we—we are bunch of fools! We really are! Not because of us, but because of Him. Because we preach—preach Him. But not just Him. What He did. “We preach Christ crucified, which is scandal to Jews and foolishness to Greeks, but Christ, God’s power and wisdom, to those who are called (whether Jew or Greek).” Christ is “God’s power and wisdom” because Christ “is God over all, blessed forever.” The eternally blessed God, the Creator of the universe “for us and our salvation came down from heaven,” and “was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.”

There is no other Christ, no other God, but Him. He is the Christ God, the Crucified. What god does that? Gods are gods because they show their power. But One that was condemned, beaten, stripped down, crucified? What’s that? That’s not power. That’s weakness. That’s not life, but death. That’s not wisdom. That’s foolishness. Except to the one true God. “Because the foolishness of God”—His “homo factus est”“is wiser than men, and the weakness of God”—His crucifixion, His bloody death—“is stronger than men.” In fact, that is God’s power for by His death He ransomed us from our sins and rescued us from the world’s so-called wisdom, strength, and power.

And now we’re fools. At least, we should be. We are preachers. Must be preachers. Need to be preachers. For “God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of preaching.” Apart from that preaching no one can know Him. And so, every facet of our preaching and teaching should be of Him, Him crucified, crucified for all. If it can’t be connected to “Christ and Him crucified,” then it will be the sort of signs and wisdom unbelievers expect and want. Because “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.”

But there our temptation: to move beyond the cross, beyond God dead for you, beyond a bloody Christ God who in His bleeding and dying is most God and most for you. There He shatters all our thoughts of God—thankfully so! All you’re left with is Him. Him alone, because “unless a grain of wheat dies it remains alone; but if it dies it produces much fruit.”

And He is not alone. He has you. He is your “power and wisdom of God.” For when He was “lifted up from the earth,” He drew all to Himself. You, me, all. There He drew you and all your sins, all our human “wisdom”, all our human “strength”—all our sinfulness—to Himself There it became His. “He was made to be sin,” and was your curse and damnation, “for cursed is everyone hanged on a tree.”

But His cross, His death, He is yours now. Yours in your baptism into that same death, and His resurrection to boot. Yours through His body and blood is given into your mouth for your forgiveness, that your mouth would be used to preach and teach Him—Him crucified, Him dead, Him raised, Him God for all.

And so we preach, teach, deliver Him. He’s made us His own. Made us His preachers, too. So, we’re bunch of fools! Fools who preach a crucified, dead, and risen God, who teach nothing other than Him, who deliver Him, His forgiveness and life in His Baptism, His Absolution, His body and blood.

There is no other God than Him. God crucified—His body given and blood shed for all and for you, too. And delivered for you today!

INI + AMEN.

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