Fools for Christ’s sake ∙
We are fools for Christ’s sake. – 1 Corinthians 4:10
1 Corinthians 4:9-16
9 Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world – to people and angels alike.
10 Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed.
11 Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home.
12 We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us.
13 We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash – right up to the present moment.
16 So I urge you to imitate me.
Apart from the Bible, a fool is commonly perceived as someone who lacks judgment or prudence and is often regarded as a dullard with mental deficiencies. However, in reality, this is far from the truth. Fools often have a sharp wit, perceptive insight, and a biting sense of humor, which makes them quite entertaining. Throughout history, court jesters, fools, or clowns were employed by royal courts for their entertainment value. In ancient Rome, these individuals were referred to as actors, while in ancient China, they often served as diplomats.
“They needed to be intelligent and observant enough to see mistakes that were about to happen and make fun of the situation in a way that made their ruler stop, take a step back, and fix little problems before they turned into big ones” (Deborah Kelly).
Individuals from all walks of life were recruited as jesters to serve in royal courts because of their intelligence and entertaining manner.
Years ago, a televised debate occurred between an atheist and a child of the King. At one point, the child of the King stated, “I am a fool for Christ’s sake.” He queried, “Whose fool are you?”
Paul plainly states that according to human standards, he and the other apostles were considered foolish for the sake of Christ. Despite the risks involved, they frequently endangered their lives to spread the gospel and the Word of God (Acts 14:19, Acts 16:22-25, Acts 17:10, Acts 18:12).
There is a tremendous irony here. In the eyes of the Corinthians, Paul played the part of a fool. He was deemed a foolish person. But in the eyes of the Father, the Corinthians actually were the fools. Thinking themselves wise, they exhibited their foolishness by relying upon human wisdom and worldly standards.
It won’t back during World War II They demonstrated their foolishness by relying on human wisdom and worldly standards.
“The way to be spiritually wise is to become a fool in the eyes of the world (1 Corinthians 3:18)” (Wiersbe).
REFLECT & PRAY
The people that the Father chooses to become children of the King and do His will are a living contradiction to the values and standards of the world.
Father I have a natural reticence and hold back. However, deep inside I desire to become a fool for the sake of Christ. Please encourage me to embrace the kind of foolishness that is pleasing to You.
The Corinthians were suffering from inflated egos and a superiority complex. They were quick to pass judgment on lesser souls than themselves. Paul slices and dices them with his quick wit. He is sarcastic, and his words drip with irony.
1 Corinthians 4:6-7
6 Dear brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures, you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another.
7 For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?
Paul asks them the most pertinent and fundamental of all questions. “What do you possess that you did not receive?” (Barclay)
No one could ever have known the Father unless He had revealed Himself. Men and women could never have won their own salvation; they do not save themselves. Instead, the Father saved them. When we think of what we have done and what the Father has done for us, pride is ruled out, and only humble gratitude remains. The basic fault of the Corinthians was that they had forgotten that they owed their souls to God the Father (Barclay).
“He turns on the Corinthians with scathing irony. He compares their pride, their self-satisfaction, and their feeling of superiority with the life that an apostle lives. He chooses a vivid picture. When a Roman general won a great victory, he was allowed to parade his victorious army through the streets of the city with all the trophies that he had won; the procession was called a Triumph. But, in the end, there came a little group of captives who were doomed to death; they were being taken to the arena to ﬁght with the wild beasts and so to die.”
In their blatant, hubristic pride, the Corinthians were like the conquering general displaying the trophies of his prowess. The apostles were like the little group of captives doomed to die. To the Corinthians, the Christian life meant ﬂaunting their privileges and inflating their achievements. To Paul, it meant humble service and a readiness to die for Christ (Barclay).
With the exception of the apostle Paul, a Pharisee of Pharisees, the remaining apostles were a motley crew of laborers and one tax collector. Paul asked the Corinthians to “consider your calling.” He urged them to remember and reflect upon who and what they were when they came to faith. None of them would have been considered “the cream of society” (Garland). However, despite their humble beginnings, the Father called each of them to serve in His heavenly court.
The takeaway is straightforward: anyone can do it. But many of us, for one reason or another, shrink back. Paul asks each of us to reflect upon who and what we are.
1 Corinthians 1:26-28
26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.
27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.
28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.
© Dr. H 2023