1 Corinthians 1:21-31 NKJV
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
In these verses from 1st Corinthians, St. Paul contrasts the wisdom of God with the wisdom of the world, highlighting the unique and transformative nature of Christ crucified. Paul begins by underscoring that human wisdom, despite its sophistication, couldn’t lead the world to the true knowledge of God. The world’s wisdom fell short, and God’s wisdom was unveiled in an unexpected way—through the seemingly foolish message of Christ crucified. This message, which appears foolish to some, holds the power of salvation for those who believe.
The Apostle acknowledges the distinct preferences of different cultures—the Jews seeking signs and the Greeks pursuing wisdom. Yet, the message preached was neither a spectacle nor a philosophical discourse; it was the proclamation of Christ crucified. This message transcends cultural inclinations and strikes at the heart of humanity’s need for redemption.
To the Jews, the idea of a crucified Messiah was a stumbling block, contrary to their expectations of a triumphant ruler. To the Greeks, it seemed foolish, as their philosophical minds sought intricate explanations. However, to those who respond to God’s call, Christ is both the power and the wisdom of God. This paradox illuminates the profound truth that God’s ways are higher than our understanding.
Paul’s declaration that the “foolishness of God is wiser than men” reminds us that God’s wisdom surpasses human intellect. The weakness of God, demonstrated in the crucifixion, is still mightier than human strength. This teaching challenges our human pride and redirects our focus to the sovereignty of God.
Thus, our faith clings to the core of the gospel—the message of Christ crucified and resurrected for our salvation. This message may seem foolish or weak to the world, but it is the essence of God’s wisdom and power. Our faith rests not on human wisdom or accomplishments, but on the unfathomable love of God demonstrated through Christ’s sacrifice.
Let us pray: Lord, we pray that your grace may always go before and follow after us, that we may always be ready to do your good works; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.