Updated: Apr 4, 2020
by Les Henson.
God is not into power as much as many Christian people seem to think. Instead, God is a God of weakness with the cross-being the prime example of this reality. The Jews of Jesus’ time wanted their Messiah to come and wipe out the Roman occupational forces and set the Jewish people free, making them the masters of their own destiny. However, God, in His wisdom, chose to send his son into the world in the form of a baby. And He required that His son would end his life on a Roman cross. God’s power comes most powerfully in the form of weakness, not in the power of human strength.
Likewise, the gospel comes most powerfully from a position of weakness rather than the strength and power of this world. Whenever the gospel is attached to empire, imperialism, or colonialism, something of the gospel is lost in the process. It is distorted and defaced so that the gospel is weakened losing much of its power and influence. Paul, speaking of the cross and Christ Crucified says that it is “a stumbling block to the Jew and foolishness to the Gentile”. Then he goes on to affirm God’s foolishness writing, “For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” Then, he says to the Corinthian believers, “not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But, 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, things that are not, to reduce to nothing the things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor. 1:23-30).
When we chose human or worldly power over weakness, as the Church has often done throughout history, we negate the power of the gospel, which as Paul states clearly in 2 Cor. 4:7 comes wrapped in jars of clay, earthen vessels or as I prefer to translate it, it comes wrapped in brown paper bags. Brown paper bags are nothing much to look at, nothing much to write home about, its only intrinsic value is the gospel contained within. So, let us follow the way of weakness instead of the way of human power and strength. Let us follow the way of Jesus that leads to the cross, and, thankfully, beyond that to resurrection and hope.