Foolishness of the Cross
Parenting constantly has its challenges, doesn’t it? Every stage of life requires adjusting to our children as they grow older: from keeping them alive, to keeping them under control, to teaching them new things. Some of you know all about this as you have kids that are all grown up. One of the challenges for us these days has been adjusting to the fact that our kids, despite still being relatively young, know more about certain subjects than we do. We can see it in their school work or when we talk technology or even when we discuss current events. Sometimes it’s surprising, even scary, how much they know at their age. I guess it’s the natural progression of things but when they say “no dad that’s not how it works” or “no mom let me explain it to you again,” we can feel pretty foolish at times.
A “fool” is generally thought of as someone who lacks common sense or good judgment. Scripture speaks quite a bit about foolishness. The foolish person is portrayed as wicked, someone who does not fear God, does not heed His Word nor believes in His judgment. As believers, we want to be wise and avoid this type of foolishness. However, in the Bible, there is a “wisdom” that we should reject and a “foolishness” we should embrace. 1 Corinthians 1:18-19 says “For 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. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’” In the Apostle Paul’s day, many people (Jews and Greeks alike) did not believe the message of Jesus. They thought that any god who could or would die on a cross to save people was foolish and weak. And they thought the same of anyone who believed such a message. Sadly, we see some of these same worldly ways of thinking in our culture today.
But Paul does not want us to be confused or shaken. Continuing on in 1 Corinthians, he says “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world . . . God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” Paul makes clear that it is not worldly wisdom that pleases God but it’s the message of the cross. In fact, many people in Paul’s time (ours too) relied so much on their intellect and worldly success that it kept them from placing their trust in Jesus. This is the wisdom we are to reject. As much as we would like to be thought of as smart by those around us, we do not want to adopt the “wisdom” of the world that cannot submit to Jesus. Along the same lines, what the world sees as foolish and weak – that Jesus would willingly give His life on the cross to save mankind – is exactly the “foolishness” we should embrace. I love the next part of the passage which says (vs. 22-25) “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified . . . For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Doesn’t that say it all? We preach Christ crucified, the one who sacrificed, who saves, forgives, and rose victoriously. Society may call us foolish or weak but we know God has command over all these things.
Beloved, let us then lay down our worldly wisdom and embrace the foolishness of the cross. For it’s only then that we’ll be able to see the true love and wisdom in what God has done. Paul sums it up when he says in vs. 27-29 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong . . . It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”
God bless you,