The people of God look a little strange at times from the world’s point of view. That’s not a 21st century phenomenon or a failure of the church—it’s always been the case.
In the first century, Paul told the disciples at Corinth who were part of the wisdom worshipping Greek culture that “in the wisdom of God, the world through it’s wisdom did not know him” (1:21). He said a mouthful when he said this! Not only was He was telling them that the speculative philosophy of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and others had failed in its search for ultimate truth, but this failure was in harmony with God’s purpose. It was “in the wisdom of God, the world through it’s wisdom did not know him.”
It wasn’t that God didn’t want to be known by man, He did and He does! But ultimate truth doesn’t come through man’s speculation, it’s given to us by God through His revelation. When Peter confessed that Jesus was “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), Christ told him that this truth wasn’t a flesh and blood discovery—it was revealed by God. God does things this way so no one can boast that they came to God on their own—they came because God made Himself known to them. The initiative was His, not ours.
The world in its wisdom and cultural sensibilities, whether in the first century or the twenty-first, doesn’t know God. So yes, they think there’s something a little strange about us. Why wouldn’t they? The corollary to this is when disciples mistakenly look to the world for validation, they will be disappointed. There are always some who want the church to be viewed as cool, but as Jesus told the mother of James and John when she wanted special privileges for her boys—you don’t know what you are asking! The church can and should be recognized for its compassion, character, and credibility, but it will never be cool and it’s misguided to pursue it. We will find our deliverance, not through trending on Twitter, but by living as the people of God!
The text goes on to say that “God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” What was preached was Christ crucified. The exalted Messiah died the death of a rogue, a felon. The early church’s message was, “Follow Jesus with us. It is through his shameful execution on the cross that He bore our sins and set us free.”
It was the farthest thing from cool.
It was foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews. But it was life to those who embraced it by faith. It still is. But that’s the way it works. God reveals His way to us, and we embrace it by faith. We don’t wait for the world to tell us it meets with their sensibilities and standards because it never will.
We will find our deliverance through living as the people of God and in no other way!