I have a friend (we’ll call him Terry) that I hang out with on a regular basis. Terry doesn’t know Jesus. I’ve probably told him about Jesus five times and the reaction is the same every time: he just doesn’t get it. The whole idea of Jesus dying on the cross and being the only way to God is stupid to him. It doesn’t make a lick of sense. Actually, I should clarify a bit. It doesn’t make sense to him, but he also doesn’t want to believe it, which he has told me several times. Which brings a question to mind. Why am I any different than Terry? Why does the gospel make beautiful sense to me? Is it because I’m smarter, or had Christian parents, or am just a more religious guy? Why are you a Christian, but your aunt, or mother, or best friend isn’t? What’s the difference. Check out what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:14 -
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
There is one massive, fundamental difference between me and Terry: the Spirit of God opened my eyes to see the truth. Apart from the work of the Spirit, the gospel appears to be a message of madness. People don’t willfully embrace madness, they scorn it. Terry hasn’t yet had his eyes opened by God, and so he sees foolishness where I see beauty.
In his book The Cross and Christian Ministry, D.A. Carson says of these verses:
Paul’s point, then, is that the possibility of knowing God and understanding his ways does not belong to any human being as an essential component of his or her being. The distance is too great; our self-centeredness is too deep. And nothing in the “wisdom of this age” can help us…What is required then is revelation.
I shouldn’t be surprised that the gospel seems ridiculous to Terry. He literally can’t see it. In fact, it’s utterly impossible for anyone to know God apart from God revealing himself. I never would have embraced the cross if the Spirit of God hadn’t first worked in me. The cross would have appeared barbaric, foolish, and stupid. But in his mercy, God gave me sight, and now the cross is a beautiful thing.
This fills me with gratefulness to God and gives me hope for sharing the gospel with Terry. I can’t convince Terry to believe in Jesus. I can’t persuade his heart with apologetics or convince him of his desperate sinfulness. But there is One who can do such a miraculous work. God himself can save Terry.
You can’t open the eyes of your mom, aunt, best friend, or college roommate. But we serve a glorious, kind, revealing, God. He can let them see the glories of the gospel shining through the foolishness.