“…I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2, NIV).
The foundational doctrine espoused by the Apostle Paul is “Christ crucified”. This is simply the idea that the most impactful moment in Jesus’ life occurred as he breathed his final breaths hanging from a Roman cross, where he secured our forgiveness of sins and freedom from their eternal consequences. Now, one might argue that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead served as Jesus’ crowning achievement, and certainly, the resurrection assures us that Jesus’ sacrifice was complete. But remember. The glory of Easter doesn’t occur without the gory scene of the cross.
Calvary is the scene of the most pivotal point in human history. God’s heart, while broken at the cross, was most clearly reflected there. We learn that Jesus “…was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities…”, that “…the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, NIV). This all occurred, not because God loved Jesus any less, but because God loved us so much that he was willing to allow a part of himself to die, rather than to go on living without us. God understood that the only way to restore the sin-broken relationship separating us from him was through the agony of the cross.
Sometimes, we, as followers of Jesus, get hung up on doctrinal differences and divisions. We proudly sport our denominational labels and cloister ourselves from those whose beliefs are contrary to our own. We love our theologies more than our fellow brothers and sisters.
What if we, who call ourselves Christians, spent less time focusing on the ministry minutia of things that divide us and gave ever increasing attention to that which unites us? What if we focused less on debate with one another and more on reaching the lost and the lonely? What if we simply loved one another and served together? Could it be that there really is common ground among us? I think the answer to that is found in the message and mission of Christ crucified.