“Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Cor. 1:21-25).
These verses speak as loudly to us today as they did to the people that Paul is writing to in his time. It is a fact that there are many among us who still demand signs before they will give themselves over to Christ. They believe, but their ultimate confession of faith is predicated on the concept of “seeing is believing.” They are much like the Apostle Thomas, who would not believe that Christ had risen until he could put his fingers into the wounds of Jesus. But God does not always work in that way. Remember Jesus’ words to Thomas, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (Jn 20:29). Our faith is not in our “seeing” God, but in the fact of the cross. It is in the fact that Jesus, the Only Begotten Son of the Father, died for us on the cross. This is the source of our faith and it is given freely to us through the Holy Spirit.
There are those among us who do not believe in God and are only interested in what they call philosophical wisdom, or science. But the wisdom they seek, as powerful as it is, is merely earthly wisdom. It is finite, limited, and often flawed wisdom. For Christian believers, true wisdom and power are to be found, paradoxically, where one would least expect it. In terms of earthly wisdom this seems the very height of foolishness. To human eyes, this faith in a crucified and apparently failed teacher, or prophet, or revolutionary, is seen as an absurdity, or something that only the ignorant, the uneducated, or the superstitious would believe.
The wisdom that we believe in is the infinite power and love of God, which surpasses all human understanding. And for us, that wisdom is expressed in Jesus Christ crucified. Though the cross appears weak to many, it is wiser than all of human wisdom. Though the cross appears as weakness to the worldly, it is stronger than human all of human strengths. The wisdom of the crucified Christ surpasses the limits of human wisdom for it reveals that the faithfulness, love, and mercy of God, spoken of in the scriptures from the beginning to the end, is real, effective, true, and infinite. This, to those who think only in worldly terms, who do not recognize the idea of sin, is foolishness. But for the Christian believer, this apparent paradox reveals the very wisdom of God. In it we are saved. In this wisdom we are freed from the slavery of sin and death. In it we find the real meaning of our own lives. For we are called to live in this wisdom, for the sake of our own souls, indeed, for the sake of the world.
Lord Jesus Christ, In your cross and resurrection you revealed the very wisdom of the Father. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, give us eyes to see your wisdom, hearts that yearn to abide in it, and the courage to live it openly in this world. In your name, Jesus, we pray. Amen!
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