Just as I gave my own personal reflection on the sixth chapter of the Gospel according to the Apostle John, so too I wish to give my reflection on these two signifcent verses.
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
Paul makes a distinction between his apostleship and the Apostleship of the Twelve: The Twelve are sent to baptize and preach the Gospel, being given the office of Apostle, whereas Paul is sent to simply preach the Gospel, being given the title of apostle. Paul also says he dose not preach the Gospel with wisdom; this is to refute the claims of those who accuse him of being a snake, cunningly swaying many to believe in Christ with a silver tongue. He is a simple man and not a wise speaker.
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Paul explains that the Gospel is the message of the Cross, the message that God has triumphed over evil and has redeemed mankind in Christ by His sorrowful death, and he explains that this message is paradoxical: those who are perishing in Hell by their sins don’t believe the Gospel, whereas those who work out their salvation are witnesses to the power of the Gospel. In ancient Rome, it was believed that the Emperor was a god and that his words saved the world from destruction and brought peace to all men; but Christ shatters this illusion and proves that only God is God and that it is His Word which has the power to save men and bring peace. By using the phrases “perishing” and “saved”, Paul refutes the claims that Christians are automatically saved from Hell by baptism or by faith only and that non-Christians automatically go to Hell.