The Foolishness of God
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
- 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
In the ancient world, the cross was a symbol of death, humiliation, and excruciating pain. It was the cruelest form of death imaginable to people at that time. To think that the salvation of mankind could be accomplished through death on a cross was absurdity. Why would a sinless man die a sinner’s death on a cross?
Paul speaks with his typical clarity. The ways of God are not the ways of man! God’s ways will challenge those who think themselves to be wise as he will call them to full humility. To receive the gifts of God, one must die to the wisdom of the world and embrace the wisdom of God. That means that to the world, they may appear quite foolish. Jesus taught that to be his disciple, one had to pick up their cross and follow him (Matthew 16:24). Die to self in order to live to the Lord.
Isn’t that the daily call of our Christian faith, especially in the season of Lent? We are called to move out of our comfortable ways of doing life and to embrace 40 days of self-denial and self-examination. While the rest of the world just looks forward to the Easter Bunny’s visit, the Christian looks to the pain and humiliation of Good Friday as the means to the greatest celebration on Easter morning.
How do you receive the call to humility, the call to pick up your cross, and the call to follow Jesus to Calvary? Have you surrendered your wisdom? What about your plans? Are you willing to truly embrace the foolishness of the cross with faith that resurrection power awaits you?
Paul, the Hebrew of Hebrews, the one who had studied under the greatest teachers of the Jewish faith, gave everything up to follow Jesus. He exemplified what it meant to surrender the wisdom of the world to embrace the foolishness of the cross. Paul would challenge you today to consider what God’s call looks like for your life and whether you are truly surrendering to this call. Paul would also remind you that obedience to the Lord doesn’t always look successful in the eyes of man but will lead to the greatest rewards imaginable: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men”
(v. 25). Reflection:
Is there something of great worldly value that the Lord would have you to surrender unto him in order to fully embrace his call on your life?