February 21, 2011 Leave a comment
In the latter parts of the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the church of Corinth, he writes perhaps one of the profoundest statements I have come across: “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;” (1v.27)
There is something very comforting from that verse which resonates with me so much. I have never professed to be strong, my want for strength is perhaps embodied in the amount of Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirts I own, but I digress. There was a post running on revelife the other day that was titled, “Christianity: A Crutch For The Weak”, I cannot say I had a read of it, but I might when I finish this post. The image of a crutch is one of support for an injury, a leg-up above our present condition as you would have it.
Yet I find it somewhat lacking, my reply when people say that is, Christianity is nothing like a crutch for the weak, it is a revival of the dead. There is a fantastic passage in Ezekiel 37 which talks of the life being born into dead bones. God asks Ezekiel the question, ”“Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.”” (Ezekiel 37:3). There is something strikingly similar when Jesus begins His ministry and He calls Philip who finds Nathaniel ”Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”” John 1:46 (English Standard Version)
In both, there is an element of impossibility in the intonation of the words. Where the dead bones were emptied of life, Nazareth as well was emptied of all intelligence as it would seem. When applied to the impossibility of salvation, it becomes something of a miraculous event, not only that a totally new creation is born. But moreover, the weak and not the strong would be rescued from their sins which have caused them to be dead, life out of bones with no intelligence of their own.
Why God would use the weak is explained in the subsequent verses in 1 Corinthians 1, “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1:29) The Greek, καυχάομαι/kauchaomai translated boast, means literally to speak loudly. The fact of the matter is that God does speak loudly, whether through words or His creation. He chooses the weakest, so as His power and glory is amplified greater in all the earth, because a man might die for his fellow brother if he was good, but only a truly altruistic man would die for someone bad.
God chooses the weakest, much along the reasoning that the weak themselves understand how dead in their transgressions they are, and how much in need of God they are. So much so, that only the dead would know how far God has brought them, and how much change has occurred within their heart. Jesus came as a Great Doctor to those who are sick and need healing, not those who are well in their own eyes. To be weak is to acknowledge we need God, and God will surely answer those who ask for him truly.