Today’s Scripture: I Corinthians 1:18-25
18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
The town I grew up in had a lot of non-college educated individuals. Most of them were farmers or owned small businesses. They didn’t have a lot of college or post-graduate degrees, but they were some of the smartest people I knew. They could read a sky and tell you if it was going to rain. They could build a house, rebuild an engine, or fix anything that was broken so you didn’t have to go buy a new one. They knew what to do when a cow was down, and the exact right moment to send the combines through the wheat fields for harvest. They may not have been “educated” by the world’s standards. But they were incredibly smart.
Paul is writing to a church in Corinth that was impressed with itself. They were especially impressed with their intelligence and education. This passage we read today is Paul setting up his argument that the Corinthians were not as smart as they thought. But it’s also reminding his readers that the Gospel of Christ is not “smart”. In fact, it looks pretty foolish to those who think they are smart.
Yet when it comes right down to it, there is power in that foolishness. God’s plan – the crucifixion of his own son – is absolutely crazy. But it is stronger than the greatest of human strength or wisdom.
I think there are two things we need to remember from this passage. First, we are not as smart as we think we are. Second, there is power in the foolish plans of God.
Maybe today we need to try and set aside our “know-it-all-ness” and embrace the strength of the Gospel in our lives. Even though yes, it’s pretty foolish.
God forgive us when we start believing that our own smarts are what’s important. Forgive us for looking for signs from heaven and seeing human wisdom. Thank you for the cross – and the foolishness of it. Thank you for making something so important so simple. Help us today to not trust in our own wisdom but to trust in the foolishness you provide.