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The "Folly" of God

by Ethan R. Longhenry

This was not the expected script.

The time, of course, was right. Four grand empires had been prophesied (cf. Daniel 2, 7); Babylon and Medo-Persia were long gone, the age of the Greeks was over, and Rome was now in power.

He was supposed to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2); it was expected that He would grow up in the land of his father David with a proper pedigree. Nevertheless, the Child was born to a teenage girl in a most controversial way and was raised in Nazareth in Galilee (Matthew 1-2). Nazareth represented a backwater, worthy of ridicule and disdain (John 1:46). What prophet would come from Galilee (John 7:41,52)?

He did not go to school, as far as we can tell, and did not study under a notable rabbi (cf. John 7:15). His teachings, however, were amazing. For three years He went about Galilee, Judea, Samaria, and the Transjordan proclaiming "the Kingdom of God" (Matthew 4:23). It was not, however, what was expected. In this Kingdom, the first would be last, and the last first (Matthew 19:30). The humble would be exalted; the exalted would be humbled (Matthew 23:12). It would not be a place to find, and yet it would be everywhere (cf. Luke 17:20-21). His teachings directly and intentionally turned the world upside down (cf. Luke 6:20-26). Around 34 years of age He went up to Jerusalem, heralded by many as the Messiah, only to be captured, mistreated, convicted, and crucified as a common criminal, while His followers scattered (cf. Matthew 21-27, etc.). While this had been the end of the story for so many "messiahs", this story was not yet finished. It was claimed that on the third day He rose again by the power of God and received authority from on high (Matthew 28, Philippians 2:5-10).

What did this Ruler then do? He sent out His twelve disciples to promote the message of His Kingdom (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2). They and their associates traversed the known world, preaching that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified for the sins of mankind and was made both Lord and Christ by God the Father (Colossians 1:6, Acts 2:36, I Corinthians 15:1-9).

Who could believe such a story? The story is so fantastic, so unexpected, and so entirely contrary to received wisdom; it could not have come from the mind of man. Paul establishes the following in I Corinthians 1:18, 21-25:

For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God...For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe. Seeing that Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumblingblock, and unto Gentiles foolishness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The story might be foolishness to the world, but we can be confident that God's folly surpasses man's wisdom. We have every reason to believe the Good News regarding Christ Jesus, and we encourage you to consider your lives and strive to be found pleasing to Him!