THE CALLED SAINTS CALLING UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD
In verse 2 there are two kinds of calling. First we have been called by the Lord; then we have to call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are the called ones, and we are also the calling ones. We have been called to call on Him. He has called us, and now we call upon Him. This is a two-way traffic. We are the calling ones based upon our standing that we are the called ones. If we were not the called ones, we could never be the calling ones.
The Christ we call upon is “theirs and ours.” This Christ is mine, and this Christ is yours. If I say, “Christ is mine,” you have to say, “Christ is mine too!” This is very meaningful. We should underline this phrase in verse 2. This is the only place in the entire Bible that such a phrase appears. The books of Ephesians and Romans are wonderful and excellent, but neither of these two books has the phrase theirs and ours.
CALLED BY GOD INTO THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST
Christ is our portion, and we have been called by God into the fellowship of this portion. First Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” God, the faithful One, has called us into the fellowship of His Son. He did not call us into “mansions” in heaven, into knowledge or teaching, into the doctrines and teachings of Christ, into the manifestation of the gifts, or into the baptism of the Spirit. He has called us into the fellowship of His Son.
THE SIGN-SEEKING JEWS AND THE WISDOM-SEEKING GREEKS
Verse 22 of chapter one says, “For indeed Jews require signs and Greeks seek wisdom.” A sign is something miraculous. Because the Jews believe in God, they often think that He is a miracle-performing God. When the Jews came to the Lord Jesus, they said, “What sign then will You do that we may see and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat’” (John 6:30-31). The Jews challenged the Lord Jesus. For forty years in the wilderness they had a miracle every day. That was not a small miracle. Today, if a number of people would quit their jobs and trust in the Lord, and manna would come down every morning for them, all the newspapers would publish this miracle. The ancient Jews enjoyed such a miracle every day for forty years; yet they were not edified. Their response to God was to murmur and complain (Num. 11:1). This is strong proof that the miraculous things do not edify anyone.
John 2:23 says, “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed into His name when they saw the signs which He did.” This may seem to be wonderful, but verse 24 says, “But Jesus Himself did not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all men.” If we believe in Jesus because of the miracles we have seen, Jesus will not believe in us. Many of the Jews believed in Jesus because of the miracles, but Jesus would not entrust Himself to them. The Lord knew that those who came to Him by miracles were not trustworthy.
The Jews require signs, but the Greeks seek after wisdom. Signs are a matter of gifts, while wisdom refers to knowledge or teaching. Today in Christianity there are still these two categories of people. Some are “Christian Jews” requiring miracles; others are “Christian Greeks” seeking after wisdom and a Ph.D. in the knowledge of the Bible.
The Jews require signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but “we preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23). Apparently, there was no power in Christ’s crucifixion. When Jesus was arrested, He did not perform a miracle to save Himself. That night and the next day He was brought to six stations—three related to the priests and three to the Roman government—yet He did not resist. Eventually He was sentenced, brought to Calvary, and nailed on the cross. He did not do anything miraculous; apparently He was weak to the uttermost. If we had been there, we might have struggled, doing whatever we could to resist. However, Jesus did nothing. He was crucified out of weakness (2 Cor. 13:4).
Paul preached Christ crucified. This kind of Christ was a stumbling block to the Jews who require signs. The Jews might say, “Our God is a God of miracles. How can the Messiah of God be crucified? We cannot believe in such a Messiah. This surely cannot be the Messiah from God.” To the Jews such a Christ was a stumbling block.
To the Greeks the crucified Christ was foolishness. There was no wisdom in such a thing. They thought that if Christ were wise, He surely should have escaped. Thus, Christ crucified was foolishness to them. Yet Paul said, “But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24).
(Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)