1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (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. Verse 26Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. Verse 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; Verse 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, Verse 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God. Verse 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, Verse 31in order that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."
It is human nature to seek victory over others, to be the winner of the game or the champions of the league. We who are avid sports fans live and die with our favorite teams. “We’re number one!” we cry. How odd it must seem, then, to someone hearing Paul explaining the Christian message for the first time, to find him appealing not to familiar signs of wisdom and victory, but teaching that Christ’s victory has come through the cross!—that what appears to be “foolishness” to the mind of wisdom is actually the power of God to those who are being saved! Like a great reversal, God has chosen to work salvation through weakness and suffering, so that we cannot boast of our powers; we can only surrender to Christ crucified and risen for our deliverance. Though it may seem like foolishness to some, this paradoxical message is still ours to proclaim, and to continue to trust through it the power and wisdom of God to stir peoples’ souls to righteousness.
Thank you, Jesus, for going to the cross on our behalf. Though your sacrifice often seems beyond our comprehension, we trust it bespeaks the power and wisdom of the Father. As the psalmist prayed, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Amen.