Divine Weakness and Holy Foolishness
THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT
Prayer of the Day: Holy God, through your Son you have called us to live faithfully and act courageously. Keep us steadfast in your covenant of grace, and teach us the wisdom that comes only through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:19
“For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” I Corinthians 1:25.
No self respecting god would allow its temple to be destroyed. A god that cannot protect and defend its holy place is no god at all. That is why the Babylonian destruction of Israel’s temple in Jerusalem was such a traumatic blow. How could the God who brought Israel up out of Egypt and led them into the land promised to the matriarchs and patriarchs fail to defend the temple upon which God solemnly promised to place God’s name?
A similar question was raised by Saint Peter in last week’s gospel in which Jesus told his disciples that he would be rejected by the religious authorities, arrested and killed. How could such a thing happen to God’s messiah? So, too, in this Sunday’s gospel Jesus practically invites his opponents to “tear down this temple,” meaning the “temple of his body.” That does not sound reassuring. Yes, Jesus went on to say that he would “rebuild” the ruined temple in three days. But a true messiah would never allow his temple to be destroyed in the first place. The occurrence of such a sacrilege is a sure sign of divine weakness.
That, of course, brings us to Saint Paul’s odd comment in our second lesson from I Corinthians: God’s “weakness” is stronger than human strength. Read more