1 Corinthians 1:18-31
1:18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1:19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
1:20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.
1:22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom,
1:23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
1:24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1:25 For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
1:26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
1:27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are,
1:29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God.
1:30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
1:31 in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Throughout the course of Jesus’s ministry, He made it abundantly clear who He was and His mission to save sinners from eternal punishment. The Gospel of John is filled with various verses of Christ making that clear (John 6:38, John 5:18). There were those who heard the Gospel message and believed and those who became hostile and indignant to Jesus’s claims to be God and furthermore, save the world.
The same is true for those who are exposed to the Gospel today. There are some who will say it is “foolishness” and there are those who are ready to open up their hearts to the truth about their sin, who God is and the redemptive work of salvation.
However, this passage takes the Gospel message further and says to those who think that it is foolishness, compared to the human level of thinking “Gods foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength”. The point that is being made here is that despite what those who are rejecting this message may think, God’s ways are still higher and wiser then ours.
Furthermore, in terms of their definition of “weak”-Christ’s death on the cross displayed the ultimate act of love and Grace. God used something that is deemed weak to prove to the rest of the world that even in the supposed powerless act of death, God’s power overcame that and it is something that we can boast about. It is to show that our strength is found only in God because only He was able to overcome and defeat death. God used what was “weak”, found victory over it, to remind us that our praise, joy and happiness is to be pointed at Him alone.
Paul was a man who knew what it meant to be humble. He was a man who saw the resurrected Jesus face to face and chose to give up everything to be the apostle to bring His gospel to the gentiles. Yet, many of the Christians he mentored were not as humble. Many, especially in the Corinthian church struggled with pride. They boasted in their own selves and not the Lord. They thought of themselves as wise and spiritual. However, Paul has a message for the Corinthians. Even the foolishness of God is better than any wisdom of man.
The church today struggles with much of the same problems of the early church. We have Christians who are prideful due to spiritual gifts, or financial blessings. Some believe themselves to be better than other Christians because they have a more refined theology or because they believe they have special knowledge that others do not have, from studying the scriptures. But Paul’s message is true for us today as well. Be ought not boast in anything, except for Christ and the works of the Lord.