Foolishness Or The Power of God

cross-alone1Tuesday of Holy Week (April 11, 2017)

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 | New Living Translation (NLT)

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
    and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.

But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”

John 12:20-36 | New Living Translation (NLT)

Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.

Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!Father, bring glory to your name.”

Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.

Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine. The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”He said this to indicate how he was going to die.

The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?”

Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”

After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.

It wasn’t that many weeks ago that we looked that this passage.  We see from the gospel reading that people really didn’t understand this whole dying to live thing…from my perspective, I think some still struggle with this dying to live.  The people in Jesus’ time didn’t understand why the Messiah, who would ultimately free them, would have to die.  Wouldn’t the Messiah dying actually bring about an end to the Kingdom? Again the people were thinking about a different Kingdom.  Jesus tells us and so does Paul that things work differently in the Kingdom of God.  Paul tells us that human wisdom does not know the things of God. He tells us that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who don’t believe, but to those who are being saved – it is the very power of God.  We are reminded that what makes sense in human wisdom may not make sense in the eyes of God.  Paul tells us “God chose the things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise.”  He goes on to say that God chooses the weak…the powerless…Not much different from what Jesus said on the sermon on the mountain (see the Beatitudes.) Believer – be thankful to God that he chose you.  Jesus said be thankful when you are despised by the world…Paul tells us that God uses those things.

Because of the work of the cross, we have been united with Christ.  God made Christ to be wisdom itself.  We need to put our trust in Christ. It is he who makes us right with God.  It is Christ who makes us pure and holy.  It is Christ who frees us from sin.  As we continue through this week, let us fix our eyes on Christ!

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