Daily Readings & Thought for August 22nd. “IT IS NOT A WISDOM OF THIS AGE”
Today we start reading Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. The believers there had been converted from the foolish philosophies of the Greeks who believed in a spirit after-life; also in many gods of their imagination – of whom they erected idols. We have had a parallel experience in going into Indian temples in recent years..
Paul says, “The Jews demand signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles.” We can understand their reaction to a message built around a man who was crucified! But that was the ‘bare bones’ of the picture!
What a wonderful meaning to life and of hope in the future sprang from the terrible event at Calvary that we have just read in Mark’s Gospel. The next words of Paul are, “but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” [ch.1 v.22-25]
Paul then asks them to “consider your calling, brothers; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” [v.28,29] The scribes and the Pharisees were brought to nothing!
The worldly wise indulge in another kind of boasting today – that, in the ‘wisdom’ they have acquired through present human ‘scientific’ deductions, they have come to the ‘knowledge’ that there is NO God! In contrast, our wisdom is to recognise what turned the thinking in the world of the First Century upside down – as to the meaning of life; “It was not a wisdom of this age” [2 v.6] says Paul, then he stresses that, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God, that we might understand the things freely given to us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom, but taught by the Spirit… [v.12,13]
And God’s Spirit caused Paul and the other apostles to write things down so that we can feed our minds on this spirit inspired word. Remember how Jesus told his disciples, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” [John 6 v.63] Let us make sure our minds carefully and prayerfully feed on God given food every day.