1 Corinthians 1:18–25 (NRSV)
Verse 18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. Verse 19For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Verse 20Where 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? Verse 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. Verse 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, Verse 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, Verse 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Verse 25For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.
In many of our interpersonal and societal conflicts, our need to be right often masks what is actually at work: a need to protect our egos and the interests of the groups that secure them. Regardless of whether we see ourselves as ethically or theologically “correct”—the fact remains. We habitually use the best that secular and religious wisdom has to offer to get what we want. Moreover, we intentionally remain oblivious to the ways our entrenched patterns of perceiving and responding to life keep us from truly understanding the people around us and using what we have to respond to their needs.
Amidst all this, the message of a crucified Messiah upends our carefully constructed worlds. Neither irrational nor impotent, the “word of the cross” reminds us that there may be truer ways of perceiving our circumstances and more just ways of using our agency for the welfare of others.
O God, transform our wisdom and power with the truth and righteousness of your Child Jesus, the crucified Messiah. Amen.