Tuesday, April 16 1 Cor 1:18-31 Rev. Rachel Heyduck
18 The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are being destroyed. But it is the power of God for those of us who are being saved. 19 It is written in scripture: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will reject the intelligence of the intelligent. 20 Where are the wise? Where are the legal experts? Where are today’s debaters? Hasn’t God made the wisdom of the world foolish? 21 In God’s wisdom, he determined that the world wouldn’t come to know him through its wisdom. Instead, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of preaching. 22 Jews ask for signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, which is a scandal to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. 24 But to those who are called—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom. 25 This is because the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
26 Look at your situation when you were called, brothers and sisters! By ordinary human standards not many were wise, not many were powerful, not many were from the upper class. 27 But God chose what the world considers foolish to shame the wise. God chose what the world considers weak to shame the strong. 28 And God chose what the world considers low-class and low-life—what is considered to be nothing—to reduce what is considered to be something to nothing. 29 So no human being can brag in God’s presence. 30 It is because of God that you are in Christ Jesus. He became wisdom from God for us. This means that he made us righteous and holy, and he delivered us. 31 This is consistent with what was written: The one who brags should brag in the Lord!
What is wisdom? Isn’t wisdom learning from people and things around us? Is wisdom following those that have gone before and learning from them, their experiences and their lives?
Today’s scripture was written to Corinth, and the ancient Greeks are proud of their wisdom and their great philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The word philosophy comes from two Greek words, phileo, which means “to love” and sophia, which means “wisdom.” The Greeks love wisdom and pride themselves on their knowledge and understanding.
But Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah to tell the Corinthian church that God will “destroy the wisdom of the wise” and thwart the discernment of the discerning. Human wisdom (sophia) and discernment (synesis—understanding) have their roots in disciplines such as history and science. Such disciplines promise to enlighten us so that our future will be brighter than our past.
Yet, we are called to follow Christ. And that can mean others see our actions as foolish and unwise. To follow a man that let himself be caught and killed, and then is claimed to have been resurrected? Those outsiders of the faith, it can seem quite foolish! Yet, God is pleased that we follow Christ, despite this foolish superficial appearance. We are called to follow Christ, and Christ has so much to show us. We sit in this holy week, remembering the life and impending death of Christ. We see that we are the humanity that can foolishly crucify Christ and that we also can foolishly believe in his amazing resurrection. The life, death, and resurrection of Christ can be the stupidest thing we believe that can give us the best wisdom.
Prayer: We pray for the insight to know the difference between what God sees as wise and foolish and what we think is wise and foolish. May we seek God’s wisdom.