Season After Pentecost: Holy Cross Day – Epistle & Gospel Passages: What wisdom will last?

For the message about 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 discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” (I Corinthians 1:18 – 19)

Today, that is Sept 14th, is Holy Cross Day or Exaltation of the Holy Cross. While predating the day by several centuries, Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians pinpoints the cross at the instrument of salvation.

Earlier this week for the Old Testament passage the scripture citation was from the book of Proverbs and was focused on personification of wisdom as a voice that should be followed. Paul, in the letter to the Corinthians casts wisdom as having belief in Christ and the cross; no less a wise thing to do.

“Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (Verses 20 – 24)

I do have to take some exception, however, to Paul’s description of the proclamation he makes as being “foolish”. Perhaps to the people of Paul’s time it was foolish to believe a poor Jewish man who died the death of a common criminal was important enough to remember and revered. In hindsight it was probably one of the most important events in the story of humanity. Equal to, I dare say, the creation of humanity.

Consider this, beloved reader. A verse embedded a longer passage has become one of the most quoted scripture verses ever. Do you know what it is? Can you find it in the passage below?

“No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. “ (John 3:13-17)

We don’t know, we can’t know, what from our modern times will be wisdom that lasts through the ages. And what will be here now and gone tomorrow. Understandings about our world, our universe, our existence change and move forward every day. You hang your hat on a truth, a bit of wisdom, and it is gone before the dust stills on the hat. And it may be true, what is wisdom for one may be folly for another. So my advice to you, beloved reader, is believe in wisdom that will last! Selah!

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