1 Corinthians 1:18-31
If you could choose a way to demonstrate the power of God, what would you do? Would you reverse global warming? Wipe out hunger? Destroy all stockpiles of nuclear or chemical weapons? Find a cure for all forms of cancer? Fix your church's leaky roof—forever? Make your faith community so interesting and compelling that young adults would flock through the doors?
The Apostle Paul wrote his letter to a Corinthian community that was faithful but divided. They were into the power of God but sometimes missed what was at the center of that power. And who can blame them? The power of God, Paul said, was the message about the cross. If you wanted to demonstrate God's power, would it look like God's Son dying on a cross? That would be foolish, right? An object of humiliation and defeat has embodied God's saving power. Why? To shame the wise and the strong of this world—and to lift up those who are low. How "unworldly" God has acted!
We seek power, O God, and sometimes we live for it. "Might makes right" is often our motto. Help us to give thanks for the power of the cross and to draw life from its long shadow. In Christ we pray. Amen.
1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (NRSV)
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.
19 For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."
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?
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.
22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom,
23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.
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.
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;
28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are,
29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God.
30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
31 in order that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."