1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (ESV)
18 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. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20 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? 21 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. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Corinth was a flourishing crossroad where many cultures and religions mingled. The church at Corinth had been started by Paul and in his absence was now plagued with serious problems of division, immorality and social snobbery. Intellect and wisdom were greatly admired and to many the cross seemed foolish especially to the Jews who demanded a kingly Messiah and Greeks who saw the cross as incomprehensible. Paul emphasizes that God’s way of thinking is not the world’s way of thinking and reminds the church that others may see the cross as pure foolishness but it is the cross that has the power to save. Today we live in a society that worships intelligence and power. As believers it is important to remember there will always be those who see our faith as foolish and weak. Ours is not the job to convince with wisdom and eloquent words but to present Christ crucified and let the power of the cross and the Holy Spirit do the work. The power is in the story of the cross not the messenger. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:17 “For God did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel and not with words of eloquent wisdom lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
Lord, help me to remember that it is not by my words or my strength that will lead others to your son but it is by the power of your Holy Spirit and the power of what Jesus did on the cross that will touch lives for you. Let us all be foolish for Christ our savior. Amen