For I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for Jew first, and then Greek. (Romans 1:16)
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:17-18)
When I came to you, brothers, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive (words of) wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
It has been said that knowledge and wisdom are power-and this is obviously true when applied in the proper way. After all, it is through our increase of knowledge that we have overcome deadly diseases, lifted whole societies out of poverty and oppression, and uncovered conspiracies that have threatened people the world over. But even as we delight in the power knowledge and wisdom have given us, we should also be willing to admit that all the knowledge and wisdom in the world cannot bring us the power that we all long for: power over sin through faith in Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul faced a big challenge when he began preaching in Corinth. The Greeks there took great pride in their learning. Their philosophers were world renowned, and their culture had spread every-where. So how could a member of an obscure Jewish sect convince these people that their wisdom was deficient? By relying on God’s power!
In place of clever arguments, Paul demonstrated the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16) to change and transform lives. “My message and my proclamation,” he wrote, “were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
Paul knew that human wisdom alone cannot bring us to faith in Christ or free us from sin. God chose a “superior” method-the power of the Gospel and revelation from the Holy Spirit. That’s why he was content to proclaim a crucified messiah, a savior whose power rested on his trust in God and not on his own wits or strength. He knew that the Holy Spirit would back up his preaching of the Gospel with revelation, so that those who heard the message would also be touched by God deep within and come to faith.
It is so easy as Catholic men to feel inadequate when it comes to sharing the Gospel message with other men. However, God wants us to have the same confidence in him and the power of the Holy Spirit that Paul had. We don’t need eloquence. All we have to do is stay close to him in prayer and open our mouths when the opportunities arrive. He’ll take care of the rest. He’ll give us the words to say, just as he did for St. Paul. It’s so simple, but so powerful!
“Praise to you, Lord Jesus, for your victory on the cross! Lord, give me the confidence I need to proclaim your victory in my own life, and the Gospel message, at every opportunity. I trust in the power of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit to pierce even the hardest of hearts.”
Maurice Blumberg is Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men Center.
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/) for allowing us to adapt material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- 1. The article states that “all the knowledge and wisdom in the world cannot bring us the power that we all long for: power over sin through faith in Jesus Christ”? Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
- 2. Scriptures say that the Gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes”? The article states that “Paul demonstrated the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16) to change and transform lives.” In what way is this same power available to you?
- 3. We also hear these words in the article: ” It is so easy as Catholic men to feel inadequate when it comes to sharing the Gospel message with other men. However, God wants us to have the same confidence in him and the power of the Holy Spirit that Paul had.” Why is it so important to put more faith in the power of the Gospel than on our own power and special talents?
- 4. Think of two men you know who are not mature Christians who would benefit from knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Begin praying for them and look for opportunities to share the Gospel message with them over the next several weeks? If you are in a men’s group, share the fruit of it at a future meeting.
- 5. If you are in a men’s group, take some time at the end of your meeting to pray for one another for the grace, strength, and wisdom to be used by the Lord in proclaiming the Gospel to others. Also pray for the two men you identified above.