The Alternate Reality of the Cross

“For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

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.” – I Corinthians 1:18-25

One of my favorite shows as a kid was Quantum Leap, starring Scott Bakula as quantum physicist, Dr. Sam Beckett.  Throughout the series, Sam “leaps throughout time into the lives of other people.  He lives briefly in their own skin and experiences life from their own point of view.  He knows his own identity as Dr. Sam Beckett, but he must temporarily live life as another person to make a right a wrong that happened in their life.  By leaping from life to life, Sam uses his different experiences and knowledge from different times to solve the problems at hand.  While Sam lives in the moment as a person in history, he does so in his own alternate reality.

When I read the Apostle Paul’s words on the cross of Christ as “foolishness,” I cannot help but imagine we Christians as those leaping through time, solving the problems of our day by living life as if we were in an alternate reality.  The world tells us we need material possessions and wealth while the cross calls us to live more simply.  The world tempts us with position and power while the cross reminds us that true greatness is found in suffering and service.  In Paul’s own day, even the religious leaders missed the things God was doing because they were so focused on themselves they could not imagine an alternate way of life.  The Jews demanded signs and prophecies but missed the cross as God’s sign of redemption. The Greeks sought meaning in wisdom and philosophies but missed the power of God that raised Christ from the dead.

As Christians we are called to live and model an alternate reality.  A life not formed by the conventional thinking of the world, our political parties or doctrinal differences, but by the simple faith of service and sacrifice of Christ, revealed to us through Jesus’ cross.  How might we die to ourselves and live and for one another?  How can we better model the cruciform love of God who cares so much for us, he became one of us and gave his life for ours?  What if we chose to find our greatest strength in weakness and submission to one another?  It sounds foolish, but remember, “good’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom.”