As we journey together through Lent, Christians throughout Columbia will be sharing their own beautifully written ‘letters from the heart.’ Each will be accompanied by a corresponding relevant scripture, and linked to sources for further study. If you would like to join us on Columbia’s Lenten journey, please send me your “letter from the heart” by email. Especially meaningful submissions will be printed. Let us continue our Lenten journey, day by day, to its glorious culmination on Easter morning.
Today’s bible study is1 Corinthians 1:1-19: Paul, called [to be] an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes [our] brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called [to be] saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and [in] all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, [that ye may be] blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them [which are of the house] of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
As I read this passage, two thoughts come to mind. First God does not want division and fighting in His church. Secondly, the most humble of men can be chosen by God to do extraordinary and wonderful things.
We have all heard the story of Joseph and the beautiful robe. When Joseph’s father gave him such a luxurious robe, it made his brothers envious, therefore giving them a reason to hate him. When Joseph had the two dreams that one day he would rule over Egypt and rule over his brothers, it made them hate him even more. Joseph was a prophet, but not for the glory of God at that time in his life. By telling his brothers his dreams of one day ruling over them, it only caused hate and envy.
In contrast, John the Baptist wore a tunic made of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. He lived in the desert and ate locusts and wild honey. Yet he was chosen by God to “Prepare the way of the Lord.” He was sent to baptize people with water to prepare them to be baptized by the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and “as Jesus was coming out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Holy Spirit descend on Him like a dove.” God spoke and let it be known that Jesus was indeed His chosen beloved Son. What esteem God must have held for John the Baptist to choose him to baptize Christ and witness such a wondrous sight!
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he is trying to heal dissension in the church and to settle petty arguments. He beseeched them not to be caught up in how many baptisms had taken place, but to concentrate on teaching the gospel. Otherwise, Christ’s crucifixion would have been pointless.
We as Christians are chosen by God, rich or poor, whatever station in life, not to let pettiness to get in the way of our task of spreading the good news that Christ died for our sins so that we might seek forgiveness. It is up to us to forgive one another and keep on task. Let us not worry about who has what, who gives what, and who did what. It is time to heal and work together to spread the gospel as Paul charged us to do.
Member, Trinity Cathedral
Columbia, South Carolina
If you enjoyed this Lenten meditation, you can find more at Sharon's Columbia Biblical Studies Examiner homepage.