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The Wisdom of God

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The Wisdom of God

by Josh Caudill

As we anticipate Jesus' death and resurrection, let us never forget: Jesus' death is a final victory: an upheaval of the reign of death in this world.

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength," Paul writes (1 Corinthians 1:25). What better demonstration of this than the crucifixion--the very death of Jesus--the Son of God and the Son of Man--on the cross.

What do Paul's words here mean for us? I fear that a slight misunderstanding of Paul's words in this verse can drastically alter our understanding of God's work on the cross, for Paul is not speaking here of a matter of degree. "The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom." Does this mean that even God's moments of foolishness exceed the wisdom of mankind--that God's wisdom is so great that even His "worst" is better than our best?

Certainly it does not mean this, for what foolishness does God demonstrate? Rather, Paul speaks of "the message of the cross" which, through our clouded vision, looks like foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18). No, Paul does not speak of the greater degree of wisdom and power of God, but the greater type of wisdom and power of God.

When God acts in a manner that we perceive as foolish, it is actually the deepest wisdom in the universe. When God's works make Him appear weak, He is demonstrating what great power actually looks like. But we, seeing only in part, misunderstand the mind and the heart of God.

And on Good Friday, this is truest of all. Subjecting himself to humiliation, torture, and execution, God arguably looks both weak and foolish. But that's the point: we deeply misunderstand wisdom and power. The very moment when God appears to have been defeated is the moment when the wisdom and power of the world are buried in the grave.

But God is true, and His ways are perfect. And in demonstrating our foolishness and weakness, He makes a way for us to be redeemed. When His body is set in the tomb, our self-righteousness, our violence, our greed for dominion, our hunger for approval are likewise laid to rest.

But Jesus' story does not end in death, and when He rises once again, we see that we, too, can finally live.

Grace & Peace
Josh Caudill