As we approach Good Friday, I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 1:18-19.
"18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
In our current information age, we are more convinced of man's wisdom than the Greeks ever were. Formally, we have the university system and academia. We have science. We have philosophy departments. We have powerful and innovative tech companies pushing new ground every day. We have Elon Musk! Informally, we have wikipedia, social media, and a constant barrage of "enlightened" (woke) people who see things as they "really" are.
Here, however, Paul looks at the message of the cross and says true wisdom is found in the vulgar, unsophisticated, ancient method of humiliation and execution. Paul says it is in the cross that we find true wisdom, that is where we find the path to true progress. He was openly scoffed at in Athens when he spoke the their distinguished philosophers. And to make a claim like that today would get most people scoffed at, as well.
Tonight I am going to ask my youth group two simple questions to show the truth that Paul teaches in this passage.
Question 1: What are some things in the past that the "wise people" of that age knew for sure to be true, that we found to not be true?
Question 2: Do you think there are any things in the present that the "wise people" of this age know for sure to be true, that we will find not to be true?
The wisdom of man is constantly changing and always evolving. In America's past, it was once ruled in the court of law that it was okay to sterilize disabled people against their will. We say, "That is absolutely barbaric! An affront to basic human rights!" Yet I am convinced that in the future, people will look at our society today and see ways that we are barbaric. Ways that we violate human rights. We are currently every bit as backward as the previous generations were. Tim Keller puts it this way, when he says, "We do not live in the ultimate cultural moment." People are morally outraged at all sorts of injustices and errors in our world, and in our past. But future people will be morally outraged at us!
In contrast to this stands the word of the cross. The message of the cross is about humility, self sacrifice, and altruistic love for your enemy and neighbor. It is a message of a God who loves us enough to die for us. It is a message of a God who is close to us. It is a vision that creates a humble and diverse community of different ethnic groups, languages, and ages. The message of the cross is folly to the world - yet in it is the wisdom of God. And it holds what people most deeply long for.
Man would never come to know God through its wisdom. But this Good Friday, reflect on the message of the cross, because that is where we can come to know the wisdom of God.