Summary: We often serach for answers to life’s questions by looking at how we feel or what makes sense to us; however, God points us to Christ crucified.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God through which the Holy Spirit touches our hearts are the words he breathed into the Apostle Paul to write, recorded in 1 Corinthians 1
Jews demand miraculous sings and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength (1 Corinthians 1:22-25 NIV)
This is the the word of our Lord.
Dear friends in Christ crucified.,
He began his life with a background in the Roman Catholic church. He had a quiet, reflective nature and was searching for some kind of inner enlightenment. In the 60’s he briefly tried the drug culture and found it lacking. In 1968, he and three friends made a pilgrimage to India to find enlightenment under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He thought his search had ended. For the rest of his life George Harrison of Beatles’ fame thought that Eastern religions were the answer to the big questions in life.
Sadly, those religions don’t give the right answer. For the answers are not found in transcendental meditation or in the searching out of our inner, true self. The answers are not found in the teachings of brotherly love that promises that all our problems will disappear if we just love each other a little more. No amount of human power or wisdom can answer the big questions. In fact, our human power and wisdom keeps us from seeing the answer even when it’s right in front of us.
As we travel through Lent this year, may the Holy Spirit open our eyes to see all the more clearly the answer to life’s big questions. That’s what we want to think about today, for the Word of God before us gives us the answer to life’s big questions. It reminds us that human wisdom and strength searches in vain for the answers. Lent reveals God’s answer.
1) Human wisdom and strength searches in vain
Where do people look for the answers to life’s big questions? In Paul’s day he wrote about how “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22 NIV). We see that illustrated in the Bible.
For instance, after Jesus fed the five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish, the people wanted to force Jesus to be their king (John 6). Why? Look at the miraculous sign he had done. If he would keep on doing that again as their king, their bellies would always be full. They wanted to use Jesus to satisfy their desires and appetites. They figured that would be the answer to life’s big questions.
For an example of Greeks looking for wisdom, consider Paul’s missionary work in Athens. Athens was famous as a city of wisdom. Plato and Aristotle had taught here centuries earlier. The philosophies are at first eager to hear Paul’s ideas. But when he mentions the resurrection of the dead, they sneered and cut him off (Acts 17). Their wisdom would not accept such “unreasonable” claims. They couldn’t see how Paul would be giving them the answer to life’s big questions.
Still today, in each of us here, a part of us wants to feel signs of power or hear ways of wisdom. Maybe we don’t expect Jesus, to miraculous reproduce food. But doesn’t a part of us want to be excited. Don’t we have an appetite to be stimulated, entertained, captivated? And then when we come to church, we feel disappointed. Church doesn’t usually excite us like an over-time basketball game to go to state excites us. Church doesn’t usually stimulate us like the latest video game or the driving beat in rock music does. Church doesn’t entertain us like a flashy movie or funny show does. Church doesn’t usually captivate us like the TV so often can. It’s so easy for us to put church second in our thoughts and attention because all these all things are like spectacular signs that grab our attention and seem to promise an answer to life’s big questions.
And when it comes to wisdom, the world thinks it has so much of it and we can so easily be drawn into thinking like the world. On the one hand, worldly wisdom seems to offer the answer to so many problems. Do you have a problem? Buy this latest gadget. Are you hurting? Take this pill. Are in distress? Watch Doctor Phil. Do you need help? Turn to this government agency. We can easily find ourselves thinking like the world. Instead of trusting in God and turning to him first, he becomes a second or third or fourth option after worldly wisdom fails to help.