“HOW COULD YOU STOOP SO LOW?” — Palm Sunday, 3-29-15, 1030am Service (Philippians 2:5-11)

March 29, 2015 – Palm Sunday

Text: Philippians 2:5-11

Dear Friends in Christ,

A first grade teacher was explaining to her class what Holy Week was and why we call it holy. She explained Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and finally Easter. When she thought she had made her point, she asked the students if they had any questions. One curious little boy raised his hand and asked, “What happens if you don’t want to be holy all week?”
Insightful. Who does want to be holy all week? Who wants to be holy on this Palm Sunday? This side of heaven most of us are aware that being holy at all is an impossibility. The only way to get there is through what Jesus is going to do for us this week. He is going to lower himself so that we might be saved. The Sunday of the Passion is upon us as we ask . . .
“HOW COULD YOU STOOP SO LOW?”
What an excellent question for us to contemplate during this last week of Lent. How could you stoop so low? How could you, disciples of Jesus and the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, stoop so low to climax Jesus’s humiliation?
The betrayal of Judas helped carry out the humiliation of Jesus. He feigned concern for the poor while being a thief. He facilitated it all because of his lust for money and perhaps as a way to remove the last voice of truth and conscience in his life. Jesus would stoop so low.
The contention and denial of Peter added to Jesus’ humiliation. He was so proud that he would stand when others were falling. Instead of a rock, he became a pile of sand by denying Jesus three times. Jesus would stoop so low.
The religious leaders would find false witnesses; condemn Jesus as a liar and blasphemer all because Jesus spoke the truth as the Son of God. This added to his humiliation. Jesus would stoop so low.
How low do we go to cause Jesus’ humiliation? We can see what is no good in others. We just did it with Judas, Peter, and Caiaphas. Didn’t that make you feel good – at least a little? But Lent – especially this day in Lent – is devoted to looking at ourselves. Our self-exaltation required His humiliation. When we create conflict in our relationships because of pride, don’t we humiliate Jesus by ignoring His words, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Mt. 7:3) Jesus would stoop so low.
Our selfishness required his death. How many families are broken because one or many family members take care and affection while giving nothing back – and feel justified in doing so? We contend that we deserve the good things for which Jesus suffered. Jesus would stoop so low.
Our materialism required his death as one accursed. When we trade God as Creator for the firstfruits of His creation we lower God to the place of a servant who is rudely expected to provide constantly for our every comfort. Jesus would stoop so low.
How could you, Jesus stoop so low to allow your humiliation? His nature made such a response to our condition inescapable. He is the Lamb of God slain for the whole world. He not only created all things, but He sustains them by His power. He would stoop so low so that He could raise us up. His love knows no limits. He would go lower and lower and lower because of His love for us. That love sets us free from concern for ourselves.
Instead of exalting this Lord Jesus, we have many proponents of other world religions lowering the Christ by saying they are all the same.
The late Dr. Malcolm Muggeridge, curmudgeon of the British journalistic establishment, once gave a speech in Washington D.C., in which he made a number of comments about the current state of the world’s affairs – all of them negative. Afterward, one person asked him if he had any reason for optimism. Muggeridge responded, “My friend, I could not be more optimistic than I am, because my hope is in Jesus Christ alone.” He paused for a moment to let that sink in, then finished: “Just think if the apostolic church had pinned its hopes on the Roman Empire!” The kingdom of Jesus, a liar and fool to those who deny or lower Him, is the eternal kingdom of God whose truth we must live out in our lives.
Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus as Lord. It is good to be reminded of that. Jesus stooped so low as he rode the colt into Jerusalem. He used humble means so that His redemption is accessible to us. Word and Sacrament. Bibles, water, bread and wine. In these instances are head is usually lowered. While reading, when we were baptized, and at the communion rail. We can do that because He stooped so low for us. As the head arises, we look heavenward to the glory that awaits. Stand up straight; your Savior and your redemption are on the way.
Amen.

Bulletin Announcements – March 29, 2015

 Bulletin Announcements

March 29, 2015

 THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Zechariah 9:9:  “Behold, your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  No king ever rode to war like this. But no king had ever come to wage battle by dying.  In His Passion, our Lord Jesus gives everything He has and is to bring us from death to life: He is the king who wins by losing.

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS, led by Pastor Lueck, will be studying during Lent: “Singing With The Exiles”, based on the Book of Isaiah.  This Bible Study corresponds with the Wednesday evening Lenten messages.  The class is at 9:15 a.m. in the church basement.

TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL the lesson focuses on “Jesus and Zacchaeus.”  Like Zacchaeus, we are among the lost whom the Son of Man seeks and forgives.  We are called to forgive those who sin against us, no matter how Zacchaeus-like they may be in their sins.  Parents might ask, “How does Jesus seek you? How has God forgiven you?”

OUR WORSHIP SCHEDULE FOR HOLY WEEK IS AS FOLLOWS:  Maundy Thursday Worship with Holy Communion at 7:00 p.m.  Good Friday we have a brief Tre Ore Service at noon and our Tenebrae Service of Darkness at 7:00 p.m.  Holy Communion will be celebrated at the evening service.  On Easter Sunday the first Worship Service is at 7:00 a.m.  Easter Breakfast follows; please see the sign-up in the narthex.  Sunday School and Adult Bible Class at 9:15 a.m. and our 2nd Worship Service is at the normal time of 10:30 a.m.  We will have Holy Communion in both Divine Services.

PRAYER TIME IN APRIL:  It’s a good time to pray in silence and reflect on our Savior’s sacrifice on the cross.  In the month of April we will have Prayer Time at the church on Good Friday, April 3rd, from 6- 7:00 pm  Everyone is welcome to come and pray for a few minutes before the Tenebrae service.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR and watch for the sign-up as we are blessed to serve a meal once again this year at the Illinois State International House.  The date is Friday, April 17th at 6:00 p.m.  We will need many volunteers and we pray you can be a part of this congregational outreach.

FELLOWSHIP HOSTS:  The sign-up for help with coffee/doughnuts is posted on the wall by the north stairwell.  We need an individual/family to sign-up each week to pick up the donuts and make the coffee.  If no one is signed up by Friday of each week, the order will be cancelled.  We thank everybody who continues to help with this part of our church fellowship.

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The April – June 2015 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack located in the narthex.  Pick up your free copy today.

THE PREGNANCY RESOURCE CENTER is having a Confidential Week-end Retreat for post abortive men and women on April 10th–12th.  For more information please see www.hopeforafuture.com/deeperstill.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “One Step Ahead” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Mark 16:1-8.  Your future is not a mystery.  Our risen Savior is one step ahead and He leads you to eternal life.  The speaker will be Reverend Gregory Seltz.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Tune in!  You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org.

PRAYER CHAIN:  If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her home # is (309) 661-6522; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582.  The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

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“WHO IS NUMBER ONE?” — Mark 10:35-45 3-22-15


March 22, 2015 Text: Mark 10:35-45

Dear Friends in Christ,

A David Greason tells the story about an MG Midget that pulled alongside a Rolls-Royce at a traffic light. “Do you have a computer in your car?” the MG driver asked the Rolls driver. “Of course I do,” the Rolls driver haughtily replied. “Well, do you have a double bed in the back?” the MG driver wanted to know. Red faced with anger, the Rolls driver said nothing, sped away and that afternoon had a double bed installed in the back of his auto.
A week later, the Rolls-Royce driver passed the same MG, which was now parked on the side of the road. The Rolls driver noticed that the back window of the MG was fogged up and had steaming come out. The Rolls driver got out, banged on the back window of the MG until the driver stuck his head out. “I want you to know that I had a double bed installed,” bragged the Rolls driver. The MG driver was unimpressed. “You got me out of the shower to tell me that?”
A crazy story to expose a crazy emotion: The drive within the heart of every human to have the biggest and the best – to be number 1! You know, it even gets that way in the church. With our Gospel text comes a question . . .
“WHO IS NUMBER ONE?”
Isn’t that a question we have heard a lot this week? Half the country filling out their NCAA tournament brackets, everyone who is anybody telling us who their number one is. We all long to have our team be numero uno. And if they can’t be we at least want the team we picked in our office pool.
The disciples James and John would have fit right in. Look at what is on their heart and mind in our text. “”Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ And he said to them, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left in your glory.’” (35b-37) And make no mistake, the other disciples felt the same way. They become indignant not because of the question but because they wanted to be the biggest and the best. They wanted to win the disciple office pool.
Being a disciple of Christ in this world has nothing to do with worldly position, or power, or things. Jesus says they do not know what they are asking. So he poses a question on drinking the cup and his baptism. Look at their arrogance, “We are able.” But Jesus then gets to the real answer. “To sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” (v. 40)
Those connected to Christ in this world are going to suffer because of their connection. So Jesus forces the disciples and us to face two issues. 1. Why Jesus came into the world, and 2. The position of disciples as they live out their lives in this world.
Jesus didn’t come into this world to beat us into submission. He came into this world to love us to eternal life. Verse 45 of our text, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Why did Jesus do this? Sin. Life crippling, guilt impregnating, life disappointing, death bringing, God separating sin. This great God of ours, the One who breathed life into us came into this world to become a servant for the people gathered in this place. To grant us forgiveness and assurance of God’s love despite of the fact that this past week we have involved our thoughts and tongues and bodies in God –offending activities. For Christ’s sake we are forgiven. He served us to death. And glory be to His name, He continues to serve us through the promises of His Word and the Sacraments.
There at a place called Golgotha, with spikes in his hands and his feet, there He would hug us and love us back to life…to life everlasting. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace…” (Eph. 1:7)
We then have a calling to serve. To be people who not only understand that they have an eternal destiny – unlike our contemporaries who wander through this world walking all over each other – but to be people who also serve.
The disciples had this as well. The amazing part of this story to me is that it involves James and John. Two of the three who had glimpsed the glory of Jesus at the mountain. They saw greatness. They saw the true number one. But they just can’t contain that longing. So Jesus intervenes and these men would go on to great service in the Lord’s Kingdom. They found meaning in serving number one.
Do you? Or do you still want the biggest and the best and service to the Lord and His church gets pushed lower and lower? I know many of you in a loving way still make fun of my flip phone. But I am content with that. I don’t need the latest and greatest. Heck, we just got a flat screen TV at Christmas. I like it but it is not changing my life or pushing me to keep up with the neighbors. I just don’t live that way. I still have that human drive to be #1 in areas like sports, trivia etc. But I don’t want that to ever take away from my faith life. Everything put before Christ is idolatry. What about you?
So, let’s try this. Led by the Holy Spirit we serve because he first served us. To be great the Lord says is to be a servant. A Christian by the name of Carolyn Schultz wrote, “In the kingdom of God there are no score sheets. Menial tasks rank as high as glamorous ones. Things are measured by the spiritual way in which they are done.” Does that help you understand how desperately you are needed here? Does that help you understand the importance of everything you do as God’s people? Don’t demean who you are or your abilities. Because of Christ’s constant love for us everything we do for Him is worth doing.
Who is number one? Christ our Savior. Serve Him.
Amen.

Bulletin Announcements – March 22, 2015

† Bulletin Announcements

March 22, 2015

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Mark 10:45:  “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Jesus gives everything He has: He gives Himself.  That self-giving is the model for our giving in all aspects of our lives.  In our family, in our church, and in the world at large, Jesus calls us to follow His example in self-giving.  We can only do this if we are connected to His self-giving in faith.

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS, led by Pastor Lueck, will be studying during Lent: “Singing With The Exiles”, based on the Book of Isaiah.  This Bible Study corresponds with the Wednesday evening Lenten messages.  The class is at 9:15 a.m. in the church basement.

TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL:  “The Widow’s Mite” serves as the focus of the Sunday School lesson for today.  Just as the widow gave all she had to God, trusting Him to provide and care for her, so Jesus gave His all for us, who fail to trust in God for all things. Consider discussing, “How was the widow’s offering different from the others?  How has God given us His greatest treasure?”

COLLECTION FOR ORGAN REPAIR:  Today is the second week for our collection for the 20th Church Anniversary Special Project for the Organ Repair and Update.  There is a large container located in the narthex for this contribution.  We will have four more times to make additional contributions so save up your pennies, nickels, quarters and dollars.  Those dates are: Sunday, May 24th;  Sunday, May 31st; Sunday, July 5th and Sunday, July 12th.

MIDWEEK LENTEN WORSHIP SERVICE:  Our final Wednesday Lenten Service is this week at 7:00 p.m.  The Sermon: “One Little Word Can Fell Him”.  As this goes to press there are still slots to sign-up to bring food.  The table in the narthex has the information.  The free-will Offering at the meal will go to the Hilbert’s who work for Lutheran Bible Translators.

PASTOR’S ADULT INSTRUCTION CLASS begins this Thursday, March 26th at 7:00 p.m.

PALM SUNDAY:  Next Sunday, March 29th, is Palm Sunday.  We will celebrate Holy Communion in both worship services.

EASTER LILIES:  If you would like to purchase an Easter Lily for the altar on Easter Sunday there is a sign-up sheet on the table in the narthex.  The cost of the Lilies is $9.00 each.  You may pick them up after the late service on Easter.  Please contact Jackie Kwasny if you have any questions at (309) 662-4995.

FROM THE OFFICE:  It is once again time to update the Church Directory.  Please check your entry on the sheets located on the table in the narthex.  Provide any new information by noting it directly on these sheets.  There are two listings: (1) Church Directory; (2) Phone Book Listing of Individual Members.  The Phone Book Listing contains your cell phone, home phone, work phone, household e-mail and personal e-mail.  If any of these are missing and you want them to be included in the directory, please provide that information; if any are listed and you would prefer not, please note that also.  Please contact Janet in the church office with any questions.  Thank you.

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The April – June 2015 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack located in the narthex.  Pick up your free copy today.

THANK YOU to our Thrivent members who directed their “Choice dollars” to us in 2014, which totaled $4,010.00.  This is very much appreciated to help with our expenditures.

“JOURNEY TO THE CROSS”:  You are invited to join us for a sensory learning event that covers the last days of Jesus’ life on earth.  Meet the witnesses from the Bible; taste, touch, feel, and be a part of the Passion story.  Take a walking Journey with your Passport in hand and be transported back to the time of Christ.  The Journey takes place at Zion Lutheran Church, 117 N Walnut in Wenona, IL this coming Saturday March 28, 2015 from 1-5:00 p.m.  Please schedule your Journey by calling the church at (815) 853-4479.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “Show Me” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from John 19:17-18.  Jesus really did die and three days later He really did conquer death through His resurrection.  The speaker will be Reverend Ken Klaus.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Tune in!  You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org

PRAYER CHAIN:  If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her home # is (309) 661-6522; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582.  The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

CHURCH OFFICE:  The Office Hours for Janet and Sandy are as follows:  Janet:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and others times by request/appointment.  Sandy’s hours are Mondays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Also, if you stop by the church please let the office know that you are in the building.

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Bulletin Announcements – March 15, 2015

† Bulletin Announcements †

March 15, 2015

TODAY:  We are blessed to have with us today Seminarian Chris Suggitt and his family.  Chris is in his fourth and final year of schooling at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  We have supported Chris both this year and in his 2nd year of school.  Last year he served his vicarage in Palo Alto, California.  Chris will receive his call into the Holy Ministry in April.  Our door offering after both services will be for Chris and his family.  At our 9:15 a.m. Bible Class in the basement, Chris will discuss his time at the seminary, vicarage, upcoming call and we will have time for questions as well.

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Ephesians 2:10:  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  Even the good we do in this world is a gift from God, prepared beforehand for us to do. And this too is a gift!  For isn’t doing good also good for the one who does it?  So from first to last, from the Lord’s free salvation given to us to the good works He’s prepared for us to walk in, it is all a gift of God’s grace.

TODAY is the deadline for items to be submitted for the APRIL NEWSLETTER.  Mandy Kluender is our Editor for the church newsletter and any announcements you want to be published in the Newsletter should be submitted to her at mgkluender@hotmail.com or you may call her at (309) 838-9868.

COLLECTION FOR ORGAN REPAIR:  Today we have a large container in the narthex for you to leave off your contribution for our special project which is the Organ Repair and Update.  You may also bring your contribution next Sunday, March 22nd.

OUR MIDWEEK LENTEN WORSHIP SERVICE will be on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.  The Sermon that night is: “Get Out”; continuing with our theme from the Book of Isaiah.  We would like to encourage members to sign-up to bring food for the meal at 5:30 p.m.  We especially want to open it up to members who do not serve on a Board and have not served yet.  The Offering at the meal will go to support the important work of “Lutherans For Life”.

EASTER LILIES:  If you would like to purchase an Easter Lily for the alter on Easter Sunday there is a sign-up sheet on the table in the narthex.  The cost of the Lilies is $9.00 each.  You may pick them up after the late service on Easter.  Please contact Jackie Kwasny if you have any questions at (309) 662-4995.

PASTOR’S ADULT INSTRUCTION CLASS:  Because of scheduling conflicts, the Adult Instruction Class will not begin until Thursday, March 26th at 7:00 p.m.

FROM THE OFFICE:  It is once again time to update the Church Directory.  Pleaes check your entry on the sheets located on the table in the narthex.  Provide any new information by noting it directly on these sheets.  There are two listings: (1) Church Directory; (2) Phone Book Listing of Individual Members.  The Phone Book Listing contains your cell phone, home phone, work phone, household e-mail and personal e-mail.  If any of these are missing and you want them to be included in the directory, please provide that information; if any are listed and you would prefer not, please note that also.  Please contact Janet in the church office with any questions.  Thank you.

THANK YOU to our Thrivent members who directed their “Choice dollars” to us in 2014, which totaled $4,010.00.  This is very much appreciated to help with our expenditures.

YOU ARE INVITED:  In celebration and thanksgiving to God, you are invited to attend the Installation Service for Reverend Jeremy Latzke next Sunday, March 22nd, at 3:00 pm at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, 800 S. Division St.,  Chenoa, IL 61726.  A reception will follow the service.

“JOURNEY TO THE CROSS”:  You are invited to join us for a sensory learning event that covers the last days of Jesus’ life on earth.  Meet the witnesses from the Bible; taste, touch, feel, and be a part of the Passion story.  Take a walking Journey with your Passport in hand and be transported back to the time of Christ.  The Journey takes place at Zion Lutheran Church, 117 N Walnut in Wenona, IL on Saturday March 28, 2015 from 1-5:00 p.m.  Please schedule your Journey by calling the church at (815) 853-4479.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “No Regrets? Follow Jesus!” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Matthew 16:21-26.  In the end, sinners will not regret having followed Jesus.  The speaker will be Reverend Gregory Seltz.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Tune in!  You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org

PRAYER CHAIN:  If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her home # is (309) 661-6522; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582.  The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

OFFICE:  The Office Hours for Janet and Sandy are as follows:  Janet:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and others times by request/appointment.  Sandy’s hours are Mondays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Also, if you stop by the church please let the office know that you are in the building.

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“The Folly of the Cross” Text: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (March 8, 2015 — 8am service)

March 8, 2015 Text: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Dear Friends in Christ,

Patrick Morley, author of The Man in the Mirror books, writes about the God we want and the God that is. People by nature expect something else from God and create in their minds something different from what He offers them. We have expectations of what we want God to be, how He should act, when He should act, and even what He should look like. We want Him to fit neatly into our plans. We have made our little god in our minds that fits our plans and purposes. This of course goes directly against the First Commandment from our Old Testament Reading. There is the god, with a small g, we want and the God that is.
The God that “is” is the God of the Bible, the one true God, who used what seemed to be pure folly to most of the world – a cross – as the instrument of salvation. Are you willing to leave the god you want behind and trust fully in the God that is, no matter how foolish that might seem to those around you?
“THE FOLLY OF THE CROSS”
What kind of fool do you take me for? Aaron Neville sang the song, “Everybody Plays the Fool.” Remember this line, “Everybody plays the fool sometimes, there is no exception to the rule.” Have you ever played the fool or done something foolish? About five years ago during the winter we had I believe an Evangelism Board meeting scheduled on a Tuesday evening. We had snow the previous days that had built up and the temperatures had stayed below freezing. The city snowplow had left a nice trail in front of our south entrance. It wasn’t that large but I thought I could drive through it. Wrong! My car got stuck. Some folks came along with a shovel and I crawled on my belly to remove the snow and finally extricated the vehicle. I showed up late for the meeting and felt quite foolish. Have you ever done something similar?
We look at others and their actions and find it easy to label them as fools. Just this week another group of people were stranded on an interstate in a snowstorm. We think to ourselves what are they doing out in that weather. We find it easy to judge others’ actions and words as foolish.
Would anyone here today be bold enough to stand up and state that something God has said or done is foolish? It would seem blasphemous, especially in this setting, surrounded by other believers. But the truth is that we often do that by accusing God of not caring, of not working within our time frame, and by allowing His Word to become outdated for these modern times. Are we any different from the Jews and Greeks whom Paul is referring to in our text?
One man’s folly is another man’s treasure. We join the Jews of Paul’s time in demanding signs. Where are you Lord, I’ve been praying? Where is your sign? We join the Greeks of Paul’s time in looking for worldly wisdom in our God, whose kingdom is not of this world. Just listen to how we all talk. We think humans can solve of our most pertinent issues. Benjamin Franklin said something that still fits, “A learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned, but still ‘tis nonsense.” Read any government edict and you’ll see what I mean.
We preach Christ crucified. Can we demand signs and look for earthly wisdom when we are dealing with the treasure of the cross and God’s wisdom found in Scripture? Preaching Christ crucified. Why is it a stumbling block and foolishness to so many?
The city of Corinth who Paul is addressing was destroyed in 146 B.C. A hundred years later, Julius Caesar sent a group to rebuild Corinth. Corinth was a center for shipping and trade giving it a diverse population. In Paul’s day it had a population of almost 500,000 made up of free persons and slaves, Jews and Greeks. Over time, the city became known as a wicked place. There were many divisions within the city, the church followed suit.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Paul needed to bring the focus back, in the church especially, to Christ crucified. That is where we need our focus. We get caught up in all the fluff and foolishness and miss the main message. Christ Jesus who died so that we might live. We might understand the offense of the cross within governmental decisions, but what about churches that refuse to put up a cross. Isn’t that foolish?
You see, the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. Holy Scripture is God’s Word to the wise. It tells us of the God who is, not the god we want. The God of the Bible is the only true God. Through Jesus’ death on a cross and his resurrection, he has brought us the only way to eternal life in heaven.
Because of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection three days later and our Spirit-created faith in that seemingly foolish way of salvation, we are forgiven fools. We are fools for Christ’s sake. If proclaiming Christ crucified and living under the truth of Christ’s cross and outside the freedom of his empty tomb is foolishness, then call us fools – forever, forgiven, and fruitful fools for Christ!
Amen.