For 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 the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18, 24-25

In today’s world, it may not be an utterly foreign idea for a hero to sacrifice their life for others. You may have even encountered such self-sacrifice in movies and books. In the first century, on the other hand, it was a ludicrous idea. One might even call it foolish. In the first century and prior, power and strength were the only heroic virtues. In light of that, the cross of Jesus was a foolish method for God to save humanity. The fact that God even wanted to save humankind was strange. The fact that a self-sacrificial hero isn’t foreign to us shows how the Gospel has entirely shaped Western civilization.

Paul uses the word foolish to shock us. The idea of God acting foolish sounds blasphemous, just as shocking as the idea that God would die for people. Paul then tells us that God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom. What a humbling thought. My most ingenious ideas about how life should work would never have come up with the Gospel. The Gospel is so shocking that it seems too good to be true and yet, is simultaneously shocking, good and true. No human mind would come up with it.

Take a moment to meditate on the beauty of the Gospel. It may help you to meditate on another letter that Paul wrote.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8