2) Paul resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified because this is where true wisdom lies, the gospel is true wisdom.
6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit…
What is the secret wisdom that Paul is speaking about? It’s the cross and how through the cross, God would achieve His greatest victory, atoning for sin and then Jesus resurrecting 3 days later to conquer sin and death.
This was a secret wisdom, meaning it was hidden. It was so hidden in fact that we read in v8 that —
8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Who are the rulers of this age? Well, partly, it included the actual rulers during Jesus’ time — the Roman officials and the Jewish leaders who crucified Jesus. They had no idea that they were crucifying the Son of God and that through their sin, God was achieving His redemption plan to save humanity. I’d like to point out also that Satan, who is often called a ruler of this age, not even Satan knew what the cross would achieve despite his brilliance. Otherwise, Satan would not have hardened Judas’ heart to betray Jesus and turn him in to the authorities for 30 silver coins. Even Jesus’ own disciples misunderstood the cross though repeatedly Jesus taught that he was going to die and be raised 3 days later. I mean, how much clearer could Jesus have been?
Why was the wisdom of the cross so hidden from everyone’s understanding — from the political rulers, to Satan and even the disciples? I think part of the misunderstanding came because the Old Testament references two mysterious figures: one is mentioned several times in the book of Isaiah and is referred to as the Servant of the Lord and the second one is the kingly Messiah.
On the one hand, you had the Servant of the Lord and the Servant of the Lord was going to be a suffering servant. And people back then had no idea who this servant was going to be. Was it referring to the nation of Israel because Israel had to suffer a lot in its history? Was it some prophet that was to come along? Nobody knew.
Then, on the other side, you had a very different picture. A kingly Messiah in the line of David. David was a great, powerful king and one of his descendants would come through his line, his lineage, and this Messiah was going to be even greater in power than David. This kingly Messiah will judge the evil nations, things that the King David himself accomplished to a small degree, but that was all a foreshadowing of the coming king and this new king, he’s the real deal. He will bring about total justice and absolute righteousness and he will establish his reign in a kingdom like we have never seen before.
Two completely different pictures. A weak, suffering Servant of the Lord and a powerful, judging, kingly Messiah. According to the best of human wisdom, these were 2 distinct figures. That was the only sensible, logical conclusion. The Servant of the Lord and the kingly Messiah were 2 separate, distinct characters. And what does God do in His supreme wisdom? He says, I am sending my Son Jesus and it’s not 2 characters but 1 AND it’s not a single appearance but it’s two.
Jesus came the first time as our Suffering Servant of the Lord. He voluntarily gave His life and died on a cross at the hands of the rulers of this age who had no idea what they were doing. And He rose again 3 days later and ascended to heaven and promised that He is coming back a second time to be the kingly Messiah. And at His Second Coming, the world as we know it will end and Jesus will establish His new kingdom on earth.
The Servant of the Lord and the kingly Messiah were not two characters but one and Jesus who fulfilled both roles did not come just once, but He’s coming a second time.
Are you beginning to get a glimpse of the incredible wisdom of God as displayed on the cross of Jesus Christ? There is no greater wisdom and that is why Paul proclaimed, I resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Please don’t assume you know the cross well enough. The cross is not something that happened to us years ago when we were saved. Nor should it be something we remember only once a year on Good Friday or Easter. That’s why there is merit to observing the Lord’s Supper more often in our services. Because the cross is central to who we are as Christians. The cross is that important. Without it, our faith is meaningless and we, Christians, are the biggest fools on earth.
Meditate on the cross. Thank God for the cross. Pray at the foot of the cross every day and ask for cleansing from sin.