wise-owl

Looking at something from Paul this morning, to the church in Corinth. Much of what Paul wrote reflected the teachings of Jesus in the sermon on the mount. He was very often saying the same thing. Paul knew that Jesus had brought down to rubble the barriers men had built for generations, barriers of exclusion keeping those thought to be “less” from participating in the kingdom Jesus had brought.
Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. That’s right, very few have it all together when they meet Jesus. Few of us were not among the spiritual zeroes, the poor in spirit, when we heard the good news Jesus had for us – that even I, broken though I was, would not be struck dead by lightning and transported straight to hell if some of that holy water happened splash on me!! That I too was (am) welcome in the kingdom of God.

Human hand holding lightning
And that’s right, the merciful, those foolish ones who might lose their business during hard times because they would rather help others keep clothes on their back than look out for number one. Even when they’ve lost it all, they find God’s mercy poured out upon themselves in ways they could never imagine. And those peacemakers, the ones considered cursed and hated by all sides for refusing to choose any, they certainly aren’t wise in the worlds eyes, are they. Or the pure in heart, those without crazy schemes for getting ahead, who just love God and love neighbor, they usually don’t get to be powerful or wealthy in human eyes. Yet, someone like Mother Theresa comes along and even on the other side of the world we know she had the power of God on her side.

mother-teresa
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.  
The example of Mother Theresa holds here as well. When we see how this woman lived her life in near poverty according to our standards, yet so impacted the world with the love of God flowing into her, how much more should we be doing the same. Yet, we get gathered by some cause, or some friend drags us off to some special event, or we help out for a couple of hours at a food bank, post pictures of it all on Facebook, watch the clock the whole time waiting for it all to be over, and pat ourselves on the back for being such good people.

nelson-mandela
Or how about Nelson Mandela. Imprisoned for forty years under apartheid, he comes out not angry and embittered but with grace and mercy. We could see the juxtaposition of those who would have thought him “inferior” to themselves. God used the powerless to shame the powerful, someone counted as nothing at all to bring to nothing all that those who imprisoned held sacred.

nail-him-to-the-cross
As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.” Jesus Christ came into the world as a poor man from a frowned upon part of the world (nothing good ever comes from Nazareth!). He left the world shamed in execution hanging on a cross. In between, He lived the only life God the Father could vindicate with resurrection. God turned his shameful execution, his earthly failure, into his very coronation as the king of kings one lord of lords!!

crown-of-thorns1
Just the same, he takes us right from where we are, in our spiritual poverty, in the messes of our lives, and offers us a new life in his kingdom. He gives us the chance to be born again, to start over. The chance to be resurrected in Christ. Nothing we deserve, nothing we earned. If we had the chance we would sin our sins into Him again and nail Him right back up on that cross. And if he had the chance, he would forgive us all over again. In fact, He’s never stopped forgiving us. Nailed to that cross, he forgives us anyway.

12th-jesus-dies-of-the-cross
The Powerless shaming the Powerful.

 

“Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.””

‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:26-31‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 

John Lewis

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3 thoughts on “The Powerless shame the Powerful

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