The Foolishness of Christ

Life Notes—February 17, 2011

“Do not deceive yourselves.  If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’, and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’”  1 Corinthians 3:18-20 

Jesus was a fool.  With his charisma, with his ability to draw and captivate large crowds, with his people desperately seeking a Messiah to lead them to freedom, imagine the possibilities!  Instead of dying an unspeakably painful death at a relatively young age, he could have lived a long life of luxury and ease.  No more hiking from town to town on dusty roads.  He could have been chauffeured in plush chariots, giving an occasional patronizing nod to the peasants on the road eating his dust.  He could have overthrown the Jewish authorities and taken on the Roman government, maybe even the entire Roman Empire.  No more sharing a few measly fish and loaves with crowds of thousands on a riverbank; but huge, lavish banquets in luxurious palaces.  No more washing the dirty, smelly feet of his disciples.  There would be servants for that.  Instead, he died humiliated, penniless and homeless.  What a foolish waste of talent and influence… 

Who among us, given his two very different life-options, would choose with Jesus?  One road leading to fame and fortune and a life of ease; one road leading to pain, suffering and an early exit from the earth.  Don’t we, most of us, strive to make our lives easier, longer and less painful?  Isn’t that the wise thing to do?  What did Jesus know that we do not?  Was he a fool, or was he wise in ways beyond our knowledge? 

In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul says we should become fools in order to become wise.  He says our wisdom is foolishness to God. Similar themes are repeated many times in scripture.  What appears to be the correct and wise thing to do on earth must not always appear so wise, when taken in the context of the larger reality of heaven and earth.  We get the earth-part, but the heaven-part is hidden from us.  When we focus on one, ignoring the other, we appear wise in one reality and foolish in the other.  Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…” (Matt. 6:19).  So, how are we to proceed wisely in life, then, with so much hidden from us?  My best guess is to stay close to the areas where heaven and earth meet.  In prayer, for example. 

This Sunday Tom continues his downtown sermon series “Who Are We?” with “God’s Temple,” based on 1 Corinthians 3:10-11,16-23.  Life worship is at 9:40 in Brady Hall and traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00.  Mitch continues his sermon series at the west campus with “Jesus Pushes: The Limits of Love,” based on Matthew 5:38-48. Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:00 and 11:00. 

Come home to worship this Sunday.  Join the foolish and wise among us!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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