Good Friday: The Beauty of Foolishness
Today, we turn our hearts and minds towards the Cross of Christ. We believe that the Cross was the weapon of Rome turned into the fountain of forgiveness, life, and peace by the power of God. We often think our struggle with Jesus on the Cross is because we are modern, intellectual, and more advanced. Yet, the idea of the Cross has always been controversial, confusing, and offensive. Paul speaks to this when writing to the church in Corinth:
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. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength (1 Cor. 1:20-24, NRSV).
It is a stumbling block for Jewish people because their Messiah, it was thought, would ride a warhorse and wield a sword…not ride a donkey and carry a cross. It is foolishness to Greeks because divine and kingly power does not look like a failure. To be honest, we struggle with this today, and skepticism about the Cross remains, as (for many) the Cross appears nonsensical.
Still, history has shown the drawing power of the Cross of Christ. The Cross means salvation, peace, goodness, and beauty for those who recognize that things are not the way they ought to be in the world and within ourselves and that we need both forgiveness and liberation. As Paul puts it:
God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the Cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it (Col. 2:13-15).
In Christ, we are forgiven and free. Although it seems foolish in a secular world, the Cross remains the wisdom and beauty of God on display for all to ponder. So today, do not let the mechanics and logic of the Cross keep you from experiencing and dwelling in God’s love poured out for us in Christ. N.T. Wright puts it like this:
“You don’t have to be able to answer the question “Why?” before the Cross can have its profound effect. Think about it. You don’t have to understand music theory or acoustics to be moved by a wonderful violin solo. You don’t have to understand cooking before you can enjoy a good meal. In the same way, you don’t have to have a theory about why the Cross is so powerful before you can be moved and changed, before you can know yourself loved and forgiven, because if Jesus’s death.” (The Day the Revolution Began)
Today, know that the Cross means peace and life with God and gives us a vision for what it takes to bring peace and life into the world: self-sacrificial love for the sake of the other. Spend some time contemplating the beauty of foolishness as we cling to the Cross.