When it comes to Jesus Christ and the Word of God, there have always been skeptics and scoffers. Sadly, it’s not just the irreligious who are guilty of belittling and rejecting the God’s truth. There are plenty of religious people all too ready to point their finger at someone or some idea that doesn’t fit their definition of what a “Christian” should say, do or believe.
The Jews of Jesus’ day were no different. They had their idea of what the Messiah and “Elijah who is to come” would look like and do, and Jesus and John failed to conform to their expectations. In Matthew 11:17, Jesus compared that generation to demanding and discontented children with particular expectations. Jesus goes on in the following verses to compare the unbelieving Jews to these children, implying that since he, Jesus, and John the Baptist didn’t act or appear as the people expected, they and their messages were rejected. The people accused John of being possessed by a demon, rather than the Holy Spirit; and they accused Jesus of being a drunkard and glutton, and found fault with the company he kept. They refused to believe all the signs and miracles and the clear teachings of Jesus. They failed to understand the purpose of the Messiah: to save people from all nations – including and especially “tax collectors and sinners” – from their sins. Yet, as Jesus said, wisdom is justified by her deeds.
Paul the Apostle in his letter to the church at Corinth dealt with this topic, reminding the church that the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is folly to the world is in fact the wisdom of God. He said, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are…” And, here’s the main point, “…so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-30)
Jesus and John confounded the wisdom of the Jews. They were not who the people expected them to be, but were exactly who God made them to be. The encouragement and admonition for us is to follow their example even if it seems like folly to the skeptics and scoffers. Christians are called to be holy – to be set apart for God’s use. We should act differently, speak differently, think differently and see the world differently. There should be no question of whose we are and whose wisdom we seek. We are to be fools in the eyes of the world for Christ, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”