Read: Ezra 1:1-2:70, 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5. Psalm 27:7-14, Proverbs 20:22-23
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.
(1 Corinthians 1:17)
Relate: He was too tall. He wasn’t all that good looking. He was socially awkward. He had almost no formal education. His fashion sense was nonexistent. He didn’t know how to handle himself in polite society. He was divisive. These were just a few of the many complaints his contemporaries had about him. He led the nation during its greatest crisis and nearly everyone felt that Mr Lincoln was the wrong man for the job. Nearly everyone was wrong.
With hindsight being 20-20 Abraham Lincoln is on everyone’s shortlist of the greatest presidents in American history. He is an inspiration to anyone facing impossible odds and his persona has risen to almost mythic proportions. This “big buffoon” navigated the waters of America’s bloodiest war while simultaneously ramming through Congress the amendments necessary to legally eradicate slavery. Lincoln was a fool who shamed conventional wisdom.
React: It is hard for us to understand today how big of a scandal the cross was. It is hard for me to wrap my mind around the severity of the disgrace it would be for someone of that time. God spat in the face of conventional wisdom when he ordained that His Son be publicly humiliated, exposed, beaten, tortured, and killed in the most disgraceful way possible. That God would embrace this revolting means of public execution as a vehicle through which the world could be saved is unfathomable. The preaching of this good news was an open invitation to mockery and derision of those in the early church.
Like our view of Lincoln, the backward glance of time has sanitized the hideous scandal of the cross. This is good news for today’s purveyors of conventional wisdom. It is great news for those who have learned to thrive in polite society. Now they can revel in the letters added to their name and the digits added to their bank account while still pretending to be followers of Christ. Polite society and Christianity are no longer so antagonistic. I just wonder, when it is all said and done if the God of the fools, the marginalized, the poor, naked, hungry, weak, and disgraced will recognize those so firmly entrenched in the wisdom of this world as His own.
God, please help me to concern myself less and less with the propriety of conventional wisdom and polite society. Following You, living for You, is not a smart thing to do, but it is the wisest choice I could ever make. Help me to understand and convey the truth that the message and appeal of the cross is one of radical change, not social acceptability. Help me to be Your fool.