1 Corinthians 1:18-31; 1 Kings 14; Joel 2:1-11
I remember messing up as a child. I would do something foolish, and my dad or my mom would punish me. No matter how severe the punishment may have been, the hardest part was looking at them after they told me “you should know better.” Of course I should have known better, most of the time. We all do some pretty foolish things at times. Maybe not to the level of “Hold my beer and watch this!” like you could see on YouTube, but we still do things that make reasonable people scratch their heads and wonder about our intelligence. I think the explanatory phrase is “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
My parents didn’t accept that excuse. My wife doesn’t either. Still, I try to explain away my foolishness with that tried and true evasive answer. The Bible talks about men who are fools. In Proverbs it describes a fool who says in his heart that God doesn’t exist. Given all the anecdotal evidence of who God is, it really is foolish not to believe that God exists. Of course, many would say that it’s foolish to believe in a God who exists and cares about His creation. Even more so is the belief that God would send His only son to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
To be honest, the story of the cross and the resurrection seems like complete foolishness when you first hear it. God created this world and all the galaxies in the universe and He still worries about someone like me? And that worry includes the fact that even though I keep breaking His rules, He loves me? And that same message applies to all people? Can you blame the wise Greeks for laughing at Paul when he shared this message? How can you believe that God’s plan for the redemption of every person in this world was sending His son to be born of a virgin, to live on earth, to suffer the indignity of death on a cross – an amazingly cruel form of torture/death, and to rise from the dead after paying the penalty for sin? How do you believe that God’s plan to establish a relationship with Him depended solely on this sacrifice which is how He shows us His grace? If God had an entrepreneurial spirit, like most Americans, He’d have found a way to put a price tag on His grace, but He gives it freely to any who believe this foolishness; to any who will accept His grace.
It all gets down to the resurrection. A bodily resurrection was definitely not in the plans the Greeks made. But it was God’s plan. In the resurrection, God showed His power over life and death. Foolishness? Not really – because it happened. I have found no reasonable explanation for what happened during this time than the story of the resurrection. While it may seem foolish to many, the death on the cross was God’s plan, as was the resurrection. And so, to those who reject the cross, to those who reject God’s grace, this message is foolishness. Those who see the message of the cross as foolishness often try to find a way to get in tight with God that involves a lot of sacrifice and they never can seem to satisfy their desires. They are perishing; they are lost in their sins. Those of us who have accepted the folly of the cross have realized it’s amazing power. God’s power, as shown in the story of the cross, brings mercy and grace. We can have a relationship with Him that’s based on His goodness and His work. Our relationship with Him will never fade because He has done the work. It is the power of God that changes lives and leads people to lives of sacrifice for and mercy towards others.
Oh Lord, remind me of the power of the cross today. Let me show others the same mercy and grace that you’ve shown me. Let people recognize Your power in me as I live by the “foolishness” of the cross.