I Corinthians 1:18 I know very well how foolish it sounds to those who are lost, when they hear that Jesus died to save them. But we who are saved recognize this message as the very power of God. 19 For God says, “I will destroy all human plans of salvation no matter how wise they seem to be, and ignore the best ideas of men, even the most brilliant of them.” 20 So what about these wise men, these scholars, these brilliant debaters of this world’s great affairs? God has made them all look foolish and shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense. 21 For God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never find God through human brilliance, and then he stepped in and saved* all those who believed his message, which the world calls foolish and silly. [TLB]
The Jewish mindset was confidence in the law. Jesus couldn’t be the Messiah because his death on a cross marked him as a law-breaker cursed by God [see Deuteronomy 21:23]. The cross was “useless nonsense” to them.
The Greek’s idea of God was a just and impartial ruler that remained detached from the emotions and influence of his creation. Therefore the idea that “God the Son” would suffer on a cross to save so many seemed “foolish and silly” to them.
Isn’t it interesting that the cross was the stumbling block to salvation for each of those polar opposite ideas? “God in his wisdom saw to it that” the cross could become a bridge. “When they hear that Jesus died to save them” they each have the same opportunity to “recognize this message as the very power of God.” Even polar opposites can be united through the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ because God *loves them all enough to save them.