We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1:23-25).
Our Very Best
There have been some amazing displays of individual human wisdom throughout history: Isaac Newton’s advancements with science, Einstein’s theory of relativity, Jobs’ innovations in technology. Likewise, there have been some breath-taking feats of individual strength and athletic prowess: Michael Phelps’ Olympic records for swimming, Michael Jordan’s unparalleled accomplishments in basketball, and Muhammad Ali’s three-time world heavyweight championships.
Paul, however, is not comparing God’s wisdom and strength here to that of any mere individual. He is comparing God’s wisdom and strength to the cumulative wisdom of humankind — in every generation, in every culture, and throughout all time. So this would include the human accomplishments that transcend a single individual’s wisdom or strength: the Americans putting a man on the moon, the Mongols conquering the largest contiguous land empire in human history, or the Greeks influencing philosophy for thousands of years.
Yet, even in comparison to humankind’s greatest achievements, Paul says, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” This is of course speaking in hyperbole, because there actually is no weakness or foolishness in God (Romans 16:27; Psalm 62:11); but the point is clear.
God’s Very Best
The foolishness of God is wiser than our greatest displays of wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than our mightiest accomplishments.
How much more, then, is Christ superior who is “the power of God and the wisdom of God”! He is not the weakness of God, but “the power of God”; and he is not the foolishness of God, but “the wisdom of God.”
Nowhere is the power and wisdom of God more on display than at the cross of Christ.
It is no wonder that Paul says, “We preach Christ crucified”! Yes, the Jews stumble at him, and the Greeks think his message is moronic (same root word); and many today still find the message of Christ and his cross to be offensive and unacceptable. But nowhere is the power and wisdom of God more on display than at the cross of Christ.
The cross is the premiere example of how God’s wisdom and power does not match man’s. The cross goes against all wisdom of man, and all that man considers powerful. God’s wisdom is utterly other-worldly! How could weakness and suffering on a cross 2,000 years ago be wisdom and power? The cross, which indicated a curse to the Jews and was an instrument of torture in the Greco-Roman world, became the instrument of salvation.
My prayer for you today — no matter what your situation, background, or ethnicity — is that you will look to the crucified Christ for your salvation. There is the power of God, there is the wisdom of God, on display for everyone, for all time.