“So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So, when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.” 1 Corinthians 1:20-23
The cross was a stumbling block for the Jews, because of their attitude. Their emphasis was on miraculous signs and the cross was a sign of weakness. Jewish history is filled with miraculous events, from the exodus out of Egypt to the days of Elijah and Elisha. When Jesus was ministering on earth, the Jewish leaders repeatedly asked Him to perform a sign from heaven; but He refused. The Jewish nation did not understand their own scriptures. They looked for a Messiah who would come like a mighty conqueror and defeat all their enemies. He would then set up His kingdom and return the glory to Israel. Because the Jews were looking for power and great glory, they stumbled at the weakness of the cross. How could anybody put their faith in an unemployed carpenter from Nazareth who died the shameful death of a common criminal?
The Greeks laugh at the cross. The cross was foolishness. The Greeks emphasized wisdom; we still study the profound writing of Greek philosophers. They saw no wisdom in the cross. They looked at the cross from a human point of view. Paul asked the question of the Greeks, in your study of human wisdom have you come to know God in a personal way. I just read that people said that climate change was causing the fires in the west. They are using human wisdom to cure a problem that can only be cured by God’s wisdom. Paul’s statement in Athens on Mars hill says it all. “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him.” (Acts 17:30)