Our bible passage from Sunday’s sermon contains such a unique, profound, and revolutionary concept. As I preached, I noted that Paul’s approach to the Corinthian church’s problems consisted of getting back to the basics. Here is how he articulated his view in verse 2:
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
The only thing Paul is sure of is who Jesus is. If you think about it for a moment, this is a very strange statement. Surely Paul would claim to know other things, right? Instead of boasting about his credentials or personal accomplishments, however, he rests his knowledge in the cross alone.
I say this is a strange statement because we often are prideful about our knowledge and abilities. For starters, we love to know things (or at least think we know it all!). We crave to be an expert. We look up to other people who might be smarter. It is tempting to think we are correct while other people are wrong. We like to be sure of ourselves about everything, from opinions about sports and politics, to much more important things like life values. In fact, one of the most common ways people insult one another in our world is by challenging an individual’s intelligence. We use words like “idiot” and “stupid” to cut someone else down. Even in our insults and crude language do we find this toxic idolatry of self knowledge and assurance.
Our supposed desire for truth and being right is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, it is embarrassing to be proven wrong. It’s uncomfortable to be corrected. But many times, we allow our hunger for being right to transform into a boastful attitude. Thinking that you know all the answers and that you could never be wrong is a dangerous, prideful way to go about life.
So Paul’s solution to the Corinthian church of knowing nothing except the crucified Christ is so opposite our desires to be right about everything. To Paul, the only “truth” that matters is who Jesus is. All the other things–our insignificant opinions about other matters–truly don’t matter in comparison to how we think about God.
So as you reflect on religious knowledge and our sermon on the Wesleyan Quadrilateral (how scripture, tradition, reason, and experience are ways God reveals truth to us), it is worth asking yourself this simple question: How can I be more confident in believing in Jesus this week?
When I get into an augment with my spouse… Will I try to prove him or her wrong above all else? Or will I remember to love that person like Jesus does and be slow to anger?
When a conflict happens at work or school… Will I be so addicted to “being right” that I run the risk of making everyone else miserable? Or will I be more humble and flexible about my knowledge?
When I see someone do something I disapprove of… Will I rush to judgment and condescension? Or will I try to be more understanding and helpful?
All those opinions we have don’t really matter compared to the truth found with Jesus Christ. Jesus died for the sins of our world and shows us how to live in God’s kingdom. That is the most important truth we could ever know.