Such Foolishness

By Illustration: Sapna Khandwala,

I am a great fan of puzzles, but only ones that can be worked out by logic.  I am never very good at seeing pictures in things, or spotting the mistake, but give me something that can be fitted in a grid and put together to solve a whole, and I’m there.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (CEV)

Christ Is God’s Power and Wisdom

18 The message about the cross doesn’t make any sense to lost people. But for those of us who are being saved, it is God’s power at work. 19 As God says in the Scriptures,

“I will destroy the wisdom
of all who claim
    to be wise.
I will confuse those
who think they know
    so much.”

20 What happened to those wise people? What happened to those experts in the Scriptures? What happened to the ones who think they have all the answers? Didn’t God show that the wisdom of this world is foolish? 21 God was wise and decided not to let the people of this world use their wisdom to learn about him.

Instead, God chose to save only those who believe the foolish message we preach. 22 Jews ask for miracles, and Greeks want something that sounds wise. 23 But we preach that Christ was nailed to a cross. Most Jews have problems with this, and most Gentiles think it is foolish. 24 Our message is God’s power and wisdom for the Jews and the Greeks that he has chosen. 25 Even when God is foolish, he is wiser than everyone else, and even when God is weak, he is stronger than everyone else.

26 My dear friends, remember what you were when God chose you. The people of this world didn’t think that many of you were wise. Only a few of you were in places of power, and not many of you came from important families. 27 But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame.

28 What the world thinks is worthless, useless, and nothing at all is what God has used to destroy what the world considers important. 29 God did all this to keep anyone from bragging to him. 30 You are God’s children. He sent Christ Jesus to save us and to make us wise, acceptable, and holy. 31 So if you want to brag, do what the Scriptures say and brag about the Lord.

And so the focus this week is on justice and doing what God wants.  Living God’s ways is not always that makes sense, especially to those who are not living that way themselves.

Jesus dying on the cross, to someone who is not caught up in the rest of the story, seems nonsensical.  How can a man dying achieve anything, surely that is losing everything?  God sent his son into the world, and the world killed him.  How can that make anything any better?  It is nonsense.

You have to see it from the eyes of faith to understand that in Jesus giving up everything, he was gaining everything.

Paul reminds us though, that the wisdom of the world is foolish.  The other side to that is that you do not need to be an expert, a scholar, or someone who thinks they have all the answers to be saved by his work.  It is not to be worked out, but to be believed.  Wisdom and even proof are no help – God’s wisdom is beyond and above that.

No, whoever we are, whatever background we are coming from, we are all equal before God.  We are all welcome and all able to be part of God’s work of freedom and forgiveness.  That is the basis from which our treatment of others must flow, and the place we start in our own relationship with God.

Thank you Lord
that faith is not dependent
on being able to work it out,
that it is not only available
for those who have answers,
or those who have been taught;
thank you that it is
for us all,
because it is given,
freely,
and makes no sense
that we can work out.

 Thank you for saving me,
whether I understand it
or not,
for giving me your
forgiveness
and your freedom.

I pray,
for your enabling,
to show that to others,
through your mercy
to me.

Meekness and Majesty, the ultimate in foolishness for good

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