The Gospel, the good news of what Christ has accomplished through his life, death, and resurrection, is the hope of the world. Just like Paul, I can confidently say that I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for all who believe. Although the Gospel is the power of God and the hope for the world, the world doesn’t understand it. According to the wisdom of the world, the Gospel is utter foolishness.
In 1 Corinthians 1:26ff, Paul tells us that God brought about salvation to the world in a way that seemed foolish to the world in order to shame those who claim to be wise. If we think according to the wisdom of the world, the Gospel really does seem so foolish. The Jewish people in Jesus’ day were eagerly awaiting the coming of the promised Messiah. They expected the Messiah to be a powerful King and a mighty warrior with military skill greater than David and riches greater than Solomon. This Messiah was supposed to be the great warrior to lead a rebellion against the pagan and oppressive Roman Government. The Messiah was to be born in a palace, not a stable. He was to be rich and wealthy, not homeless and poor. He was to hang out with successful people, not with the sinners and tax collectors. He was to ride into Jerusalem victoriously on a horse, not in peace on a donkey. He was to wear a gold crown fit for a king, not a crown of thistles and thorns. He was to rule and reign in power on his throne, not hang in defeat on a tree.
The ministry of Jesus was foolishness in the eyes of the world. Why wouldn’t anyone want a suffering servant for a Messiah? God chose to do what was foolish in the eyes of the world to reveal the wisdom of God. God brought victory over sin and death by letting Jesus be defeated and killed on the cross. Life has come through death. Success has come through failure. Victory has come through defeat. The cross was utter foolishness in every way in the eyes of the world. Yet on the third day, he rose from the grave affirming the wisdom of God!
God brought salvation in this way to humble the proud, so that no one would be able to boast and say “I’ve figured it all out!”. Jesus was the Messiah no one expected. For those of us who are believers in Jesus and born of the Spirit, we see the wisdom of the Gospel. Those who are not in Christ think the Gospel is foolish. Now before you Christians start getting cocky and claiming that you are wiser than everyone else, you are missing Paul’s point. In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul says that the only reason anyone is able to see the wisdom of God in the Gospel is because of a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. The wisdom of the Gospel can only be discerned through the enabling of the Holy Spirit. It is by God’s grace alone that he has revealed to you the beauty of Jesus. You didn’t figure it out; God revealed it to you. Therefore, you have no room for boasting, but only drastic humility.
In the eyes of the world, the Gospel of Jesus is foolishness, but to those of us who have been born of the Spirit we see and know the wisdom of God in the foolishness of the Gospel. Therefore, in response let us seek to proclaim this good news to everyone and pray that God would reveal to our lost friends, neighbors, and co-workers the wisdom of the Gospel. As we tell them the good news, let us remember that it is a work of the Spirit, not our own wisdom or cunning who will bring our friends to Christ. Pray diligently and preach fervently.