You became a spectacle in Your infirmity. May I be
willing to be thought a fool for the wisdom of God.
King of kings
And Lord of lords
Beaten; stripped; ridiculed; rejected
Bearing the tool of His own destruction.
Sinless yet condemned by the wicked.
Dying for those who hate
So they may learn to love.
His cross gloriously articulates
The ladder to Heaven above.
What God deigns to die?
The God who is love-personified.
Is there any greater wonder than the Lord of the universe dragging a tree down the street to be hung upon it in condemnation by the people He loves? He was the King possessed of nothing. A prophet whose words were rejected. A priest sacrificing Himself. The Son of God—eternal by nature—acquiescing to death. The Son of man—mortal by nature—anticipating eternity. His tortuous execution is the image of love in its fullness; a sign full of contradiction (Luke 2:34). It is the wisdom of God displayed through the baseness of man.
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the learning of the learned I will set aside.”
Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish? For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith. For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength (1 Cor 1:18-25).
We don’t generally see good fortune in suffering… quite the opposite. If a man prospers, we think him wise. If a man falters, we assume his defect. Our Lord’s disciples expressed such a sentiment when they asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). He responded that it wasn’t due to his sin nor the man’s parents but rather his blindness was a means for showing the works of God through him.
Try to picture Jesus walking among His people with no one needing Him. No one calls His name. No one reaches for the tassel of His garment. No one takes note of Him because there are no great works to show the power of God. That seems an empty Gospel. Our Lord didn’t do miracles to boast of Himself. They were a powerful witness of His identity and mission.
Sometimes the best lessons are taught through contradiction.
- Can we know of darkness except as a contrast to the light?
- Can we know evil except in comparison to what is good?
- Can we know misfortune without understanding good fortune?
- Can we empathize with the hungry when our bellies have never been empty?
- Can we have compassion for those in poverty when we’ve never been homeless?
- Can we learn to love without someone who needs the love we have to give?
- Can we offer sacrifice with nothing to lose?
Jesus told me to love everyone—even my enemies—as I love myself. Among the commandments of God, is there a harder one to envision? Is there are a harder one to practice? There are two parts to consider; how do I love myself and how do I apply it to others?
Our Lord isn’t suggesting we should engage in self-adulation or the idolization of others. We love ourselves by doing all that is necessary to meet our own needs. We feed ourselves and clothe ourselves. We rest when needed and see to our recreational needs. We are honest with ourselves and work to overcome weaknesses. We should forgive ourselves and move on from our own mistakes. This is how we should be with others… caring, honest, and forgiving. It doesn’t require affection. It requires service. This is how we can love our enemies. It doesn’t mean we adore them. It means we serve them as we serve our own needs. We bless them as we want to be blessed.
Our Lord loved those who condemned Him. He came to save those who rejected Him. It wasn’t the whip or holy obedience that drove Him on the road to Golgotha. It was love. He doesn’t just call us to walk the same road or carry the same load, He calls us to love the same love. If we can’t love those who want to be our enemies, we are no different than anyone else in the world (Matt 5:43-48)—we can’t be holy. We are called to holiness—to be set apart—to be a light in the darkness—to be His hands and feet—to serve those He serves—to love those He loves.
Before I entered this world, I didn’t exist. I don’t even have to exist now. Would the universe feel empty if I was never born? Does God lack anything I have to offer? Is there anything I have that is not first from Him? Of course not. Then, why am I here? What is the meaning of my fleeting existence? I am here to learn to love. Love is the meaning of life. Love is the identity of God. The God who wants communion with me created me for union with Him. By His own will He created me—a choice He made. The meaning of my existence is that my Creator willed me personally into life to love Him and to be loved by Him. Without me… He is. Without Him… I am not.
As for man, his days are like the grass;
he blossoms like a flower in the field.
A wind sweeps over it and it is gone;
its place knows it no more (Ps 103:15-16).
From his beginning, man was created from the dust of the earth. Unique among creation, he is the combination of earthly, natural material and the life-giving breath of God (Gen 2:7). Made from lowly substance, man’s worth isn’t in his mortal form—only in the supernatural life of God within him. In God’s breath is the glory of man while the dust of his formation is a reminder of his mortal fragility. Of what can man boast?
Can my thoughts compare to those of the Creator of the universe? Can my deeds match His? Can my words be as wise? No. I will learn the wisdom of God and proclaim it… though the world may treat me as it treats Him. I won’t get caught up in the lies of the day; the fashions of the moment; or the celebrations of worldly debauchery. The wise of the modern world see man as a plague upon the earth while God commands us to be fruitful and multiply. I will trust in humility—seeking to know the grandeur of God—and boast only of Him.
Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God. It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord” (1 Cor 1:26-31).
The world hates the truth-tellers. Many saints have gone to horrific deaths for the capital crime of speaking boldly the wisdom of God. The truth sets us free (John 8:32)… and earns us condemnation by those who hate the truth. The world will say it’s foolish to follow the teachings of the Church. God, grant me the grace and courage to follow in the footsteps of my Lord and His saints. I will take up my cross, daily, in service to You and Your Kingdom. May I be so wise as to be thought a fool for You.