Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 9, 2019
For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. 1 Corinthians 1:22-25 (NRSV)
Have you heard the story of the town fool? There once was a poor man who sat in the street begging for money. People would daily offer him a choice between a penny or a nickel, and without fail, every single day he would choose the penny over the nickel. The villagers would laugh, call him a fool, and repeat the process day after day. One day, a foreigner was passing through the town and observing this unfortunate scene, decided to confront the man and show him the error of his ways. He said, “Poor man, do you not know that a nickel is worth more than a penny?” The town fool looked him in the eye and said, “Of course I know- I’m no fool. Yet if I take the nickel, people will stop giving me their pennies!”
This simple fable reminds us that so often there is more going on in the world than meets the eye. There are moments of great wisdom and insight that on the surface appear to be reckless and foolish. In an ancient city like Corinth, known for its passionate culture of debate and intellectual rigor, Paul’s message of the cross was seen as complete and total nonsense.
The cross was intended to be an explicit display of power. For those who were bold enough to oppose the Roman authorities and seek to usurp their rule, crucifixion was a public display of cruelty, showing others the fate that awaited them if they chose to do the same. In willingly accepting death upon the cross, Jesus directly confronted the power and authority of his day. Yet rather than confronting these authorities with an equal display of force, he freely and willingly gave himself up for the life of the world. In so doing, Jesus revealed the true nature of wisdom and power, a way of being that confronts our assumptions and reorients our lives to an entirely new way of living and seeing the world.
St. Paul said that Jesus “became for us wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30). To understand what is truly wise, you and I must consistently and faithfully return to Jesus. As we do, Christ shines his light on our own assumptions of power, authority, and wisdom, inviting us afresh to believe and live in the upside down nature of his coming Kingdom.
Father, help us to see the world as you see it, to join Jesus in modeling the true nature of power by sowing love where there is hatred, joy where there is sorrow, and life where there is death. Amen.
How does the scandal of the cross reshape the things you love and value?
There are moments of great wisdom and insight that, on the surface, appear to be reckless and foolish. #wisdomhunters #wisdom
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