Tuesday, June 5, 2012

True Power

Tuesday, June 5
Scripture Reading—I Corinthians 2:1-10

 We’re impressed with people who possess both knowledge and wisdom.  They have information at their fingertips and know how to put it to use.  Knowledge in our world is easy to gain.  When we have a question about how to repair a leaky faucet or which restaurant has the best barbecue, we just “google” it.  Knowledge, in our world, often means power.  And we are impressed with people who know how to put knowledge to use to design a beautiful building or erect a long bridge.  We value people who use their knowledge to fix the economy, create jobs, or improve our national security.  Paul was by all accounts an intelligent and well-educated man.  He was a Pharisee of Pharisees he said once, a zealot for understanding and living the Jewish law, a student of the renowned rabbi Gamaliel.  He had a great resume!  But when Paul went to Corinth he put that resume aside.  Oh yes, he knew how to argue the fine points of theology with the smartest teachers.  But that wasn’t the way he approached the Corinthians.  Rather he said, “ . . . I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”  This was not a strategy Madison Avenue would have advised.   Why would you identify yourself with a person who had failed so miserably in the world's eyes?  Crowns are better than crosses any day.   The message didn’t play well with many in Paul’s day.  Jews were appalled by the message that salvation could come through a dead, defeated Messiah.  The Greeks thought Paul's message lacked intellecutal sophistication when compared to the teaching of their erudite philosophers.  But Paul had changed.  He'd been on a journey that involved accepting a whole new name and identity.   He had come to believe that the simple message of the cross had the power to put human rulers and authorities in their place.  It was this simple, straightforward message that had the power to change lives and redeem the world!

Thought for the day:  The cross reminds us that God often brings healing and hope us to us through people and situations that the world disregards as weak or insignificant.

Prayer:  O God, help me to learn to recognize your presence in my life and in the world through vessels the world often judges to be without worth, authority, and power.  Amen. 

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