22 Jews ask for signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, which is a scandal to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. 24 But to those who are called—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom. 25 This is because the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Conventional wisdom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There are lots of things we’ve heard all our lives that simply aren’t true. Take, for example, the idea that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. (Trust me on this: you don’t want to test it.) It’s also not true that ostriches stick their heads in the sand – why would you do that if you could run away at 30+ miles an hour?
Conventional wisdom is often only half of what it claims to be: it’s certainly conventional, but hardly wisdom.
The notion of a God who is willing to suffer for their creation is hard to fathom. And it’s not only that God would choose to die, but to die in such a horrific, cruel way. This is hard to explain. It’s even harder to preach as a life-giving truth. And yet, this is exactly the shape of our gospel. It’s the message that Paul preached in cities and towns all around the Mediterranean.
And it’s not just the cross that defies conventional wisdom. It’s also everything that the cross illustrates for us: God’s unconditional love and forgiveness, the power of nonviolence and enemy-love, the promise of Resurrection and eternal life.
We can never understand the deep truths of the gospel intellectually. Conventional wisdom will always tell us that superior power and force will carry the day. It will always tell us that some people aren’t worth loving or forgiving. It will always tell us that there are things you just can’t come back from.
But that’s not the truth. Sometimes, conventional wisdom isn’t all that wise…thanks be to God!
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
What’s a conventionally accepted “truth” that you’ve accepted about yourself, about God, or about the world that needs to be questioned? What might be different about your life if you lived knowing that thing wasn’t true?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, today help us to see the deep truths reflected in your life, death and resurrection. Help us to live them, even though they may sometimes scare us. We choose to trust in your wisdom and not our own. Amen.