25 The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. … 18 For the message of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved is the power of God.
Paul wrote 1 Corinthians after receiving reports of deepening divisions, contentions and other problems at the church in Corinth he had established. The letter is an expression of his grief, solicitude, and indignation on account of the unspiritual and immoral condition of the Corinthian church.
Paul first deals with the problem of cliques and party factions in the church. Like some today who identify themselves first by denomination or a favorite preacher, people in Corinth began to see themselves as followers of Paul, Peter, or another, rather than as Christians.
Paul states that it is not the cleverness of speech or human wisdom that we should rely on. He directs their attention away from human leaders to God. He points out that God’s wisdom and man’s wisdom are completely different – and contradictory.
Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void…. Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1:17, 22-25
Wisdom of God is foolishness of men. We look for strong leaders who are articulate, confident and impressive to look at. But God did not come to us in his glory. He came to us as a man of humble background, worked as a carpenter and chose lowly and flawed people to do his work. Then he was condemned as a criminal and executed in public. Jesus was not even good looking, so I would have overlooked him if he stood right in front of me:(!
Nobody wants to identify themselves with losers. I want to be well educated, make lots of money, look my best and be loved and respected by many. God’s way is the opposite. Perhaps that is why we are looking for human leaders who are easy on the eyes.
But, Paul let us know that God’s wisdom is actually superior to human’s.
For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved is the power of God. 1:18
While God’s way is counter-intuitive, I like it that way. By the foolish way he chose, he let us know that the membership to his club is not exclusive but extended all the way down to bottom 1%. It’s okay to be lowly in this world. By being foolish with God, I will come out on top. I will be successful.