For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
I came across this story a few weeks ago.
“Little Johnny is always being teased by the other neighborhood kids. They even went so far as to call him stupid. Their favorite joke is to offer Johnny his choice between a nickel and a dime -- Little Johnny always takes the nickel.
“One day, after Johnny took another nickel, a neighbor took him aside and said: ‘Johnny, those boys are making fun of you. Don't you know that a dime is worth more than a nickel, even though the nickel's bigger?’
“Little Johnny just grinned and said, ‘I know that. But, if I took the dime, they'd stop doing it. So far I've made $20!’"
The story is scandalous.
The story is not scandalous because Johnny made $20.00. The story is scandalous because the wise ones are made to look foolish in the end.
Paul uses a word which is translated into English as “stumbling block”. The Greek word is “scandal”.
To the people of Paul’s time, a person crucified on a cross being the savior of the world was “scandalous”. They could not see it as possible.
It comes down to a simple concept. God uses what seems foolish to the world to accomplish wise things. On the other hand, the wise things of the world look foolish in the end.
This was a “stumbling block” or “scandal” to the faith of many.
Some stumbling blocks are as follows:
God uses the failure of the cross as the way of salvation.
God uses the ungifted to do gifted things.
God uses the Johnnies of this world to fool the wise of this world.
All this Paul would call a “stumbling block” or a “scandal”.
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California