“...God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:21b NIVI want to be wise, not foolish. Wisdom is esteemed, foolishness is not, and God promotes wisdom in places like Proverbs and Ecclesiastes so how does foolishness save? This an example of the upsidedowness of God’s kingdom.
The Greeks were wrapped up in the importance of wisdom. It is from them that we have the great philosophers of Plato, Socrates and others. Particularly in Athens, the people were preoccupied with wisdom and the importance of insight. “Greeks specifically looked for insight into the workings of the world that would relieve humanity’s problems.”*
That sounds like our world today, doesn’t it? Our leaders in government, education and religion keep searching for the answers to problems such as AIDS, terrorism, the environment, poverty, crime, hunger and more. How can we eliminate such things? Surely we can find a way to a utopia that excludes these issues; surely we can move up the evolutionary scale, become smarter, wiser, and live in a more perfect world!
So how can a bloody, painful death of a carpenter, no matter how wise and insightful he may have been, be our salvation? Who worth following would allow himself to be killed so cruelly without protest when innocent? It’s ludicrous foolishness! And yet this is what saves us and will save the world—not our wisest answers, not the results of our most careful research, not the agreements born from diplomatic debates and conferences, but Christ crucified, the silliest thing that man could imagine.
But it is not man’s imagination that brings us this salvation but the wisdom of God. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (2 Corinthians 1:25 NIV) If we try to use reason to bring people to God we will fail because the gospel is totally unreasonable foolishness. Only God’s Spirit can convict others and ourselves of our need to believe this foolish solution and change our lives because of it.
Thank you God for your foolish wisdom! Thank you for turning our world upsidedown so that we can be restored as your children and be saved from all that is true foolishness in our world.
*Note for 1 Corinthians 1:22 in the Archaeological Study Bible (Zonderman: Grand Rapids, Michigan) 2005