ODJ: powerless and foolish

May 17, 2014 

READ: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 

To those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God (v.24).

If a friend asked you, “Where can I experience the power and wisdom of God?” would you bring him or her to a university? The following saying would cause us to question this choice: The university has lots of knowledge. The first years came in with some. The final years left with none. That is how knowledge accumulates.

Where would Paul point us in our pursuit? To top international think tanks? To renowned universities? No, Paul would have us visit an execution ground—a cross on a hill called the Place of the Skull (Matthew 27:33). To Paul, the cross of Jesus “is the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24).

The apostle noted that the Jews at that time asked “for signs from heaven” (v.22, Matthew 12:38, 16:1; Luke 11:16; John 2:18). God had done great signs and wonders at certain times in history—the 10 plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea, the conquest of Jericho, the turning of water into wine, the raising of Lazarus from the dead. But when it comes to the only valid sign of His power, God showed them a crucified Christ (Matthew 12:39-40). The message of the cross is “the very power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18; Romans 1:16-17).

Paul also wrote that the Gentiles “seek human wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22; Acts 17:21). The human mind has the capacity to grapple with complex questions of the universe. But human wisdom will never figure out a crucified God. “It’s all nonsense” (1 Corinthians 1:23). If God could die, He cannot be God. So they think.

The search for wisdom is an ancient quest: “Do people know where to find wisdom?” (Job 28:12). And the answer is just as ancient: “The fear of the Lord is true wisdom” (v.28). Or as Jesus simply put it: “Take up your cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). —K.T. Sim

365-day plan› Psalm 139:1-24

Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-8 and see where Paul says true wisdom is found. 
How are you impressed or intimidated by the wise and powerful of this world? Where have you found true power and wisdom? What does it look like?