our readings are Numbers 21: 4-9 or Phil. 2: 6-11; Psalm 78 and John 3: 13-17
...but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles ...
(1 Corinthians 1: 23)
In his ministry, St. Paul quickly found that the greatest stumbling block for people to accept the message of Jesus Christ was that He would be crucified and die. For how could this happen to the Son of God?
For the Jews, this was a massive stumbling block - God doesn't die. For the Gentiles (which in this case could be translated as Greeks), this was madness - which deity would ever dare to take on our humanity and then die for us?
But we, as believers take a different stance - the cross, on which Jesus would die, became the source of triumph, as it would lead to not just His resurrection, but to the possibility of eternal life for us. Thus St. Paul says in the next 2 verses from 1st Corinthians: but to those who are called, Jews and Gentiles alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God's folly is wiser then men, and His weakness more powerful than men. (1 Corinthians 1: 24-25)
Today we celebrate the greatest victory of all - the Triumph of the Cross.