1 Corinthians 1:18-25: . A letter from Paul to the Corinthians. THE PARADOX OF THE CROSS
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside.” Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish? For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith. For Jews demand signs and the Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a 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.
COMMENTARY: The gospel Paul preaches is Christ crucified, God’s wisdom and power. God’s cross-revealed wisdom defies human wisdom and divides humanity into two groups: the perishing, who reject this message as foolishness, and those being saved, for whom it is the power of God. The divine overthrow of human wisdom foretold by Isaiah (Isa 20:14_ was taking place in the cross. Even the wise man, scholar, and philosopher, representatives of the sharpest thinkers of this age, are incapable of fathoming God’s wisdom and power revealed in Christ crucified because theirs is human wisdom, originating in this age, which God has made foolish(1:21) According to human categories, crucifixion, epitomizing weakness and suffering, simply cannot cash out as any kind of wisdom or power , let alone divine wisdom and power!
Humankind’s objections to this message are ethnically and historically particularized in the reactions of Jews and Greeks. Jews wnt signs…..Greeks…want wisdom, that is, the insights and strategies that lead to power, success, and honor. ..these were considered the manifestations of the truly wise person. For such as these, the cross signified everything that was counter to wisdom; cross-wisdom was an oxymoron, sheer foolishness…….
In summarizing his reflections, Paul restates the paradox of the cross. Its very weakness is God’s power, more powerful than human strength. Its very absurdity is God’s wisdom, wiser than human wisdom. This is the gospel. It runs counter to the world’s wisdom. It is fathomed by those willing to see differently and able to live in the tension of this paradox. (Little Rock Scripture Study)
My note; In reading this section in my bible study group, it occurred to me that Paul in Corinth was up against the same situation that we Christians are now. We know what is right and good. The elite, liberal minded, people in this day and age, think they know more than God. for the same reason’s as the Jews and Gentiles. They see evil and wrong, and try to convince themselves and us that there is no difference. That there is no right and wrong or good and evil, it’s all about what feels good for themselves, and political correctness and what they want to believe, is all there is. Instead of realizing that God knows best what is good for us, they choose to make their own rules. “Paul insists, “we” preach Christ crucified, a message that disregards humanly established ways of knowing God’s power and wisdom, which are known in the cross or not at all. HUMANS MUST EITHER GIVE UP THEIR CATEGORIES AND ACCEPT THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST AS THE MEANS OF SALVATION OR KEEP TO THEIR OWN STANDARDS, REJECTING THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS AND PERISHING.”
PRAYER: MAY YOUR HEALING WORK, O LORD, FREE US, WE PRAY, FROM DOING EVIL AND LEAD US TO WHAT IS RIGHT. THROUGH CHRIST OUR LORD. AMEN.