“In the cross you actually get, oh Culture, what you want”

Tim Keller:

You've got to find a way to take the plotline of the culture and give it a happy ending in Jesus. So for example 1st Corinthians 1: It says, the Jews want power and the Greeks want wisdom, and the Cross is weakness to the Jews and foolishness of the Greeks. But to the Jews and Greeks that are being saved, it is the true wisdom and true power of God. So what is Paul doing? He says the cultural narrative of the Jews is, “We're pragmatic. We want to know how to get things done. Give me power.” The cultural narrative the Greeks was, “We're artistes. We want contemplation. We want wisdom. We want beauty.” And what Paul is saying is that the gospel confronts the idolatries of both of those cultures differently, but it also fulfills them differently. The cross confronts the idolatry of power and of wisdom. But then it says, “The cross is the true wisdom the true power of God. In the cross you actually get, oh Culture, what you want.” So it's not just cultural “exegesis.” It's contradictive fulfillment. It's subverting it. And fulfilling it. That's what you have to do in every culture. That's the missionary task.
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