A Secret Out in the Open

Jerry Sittser

READ : 1 Corinthians 2:1-13

Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. (v. 6)

Paul was not eloquent. He didn’t want to be. If anything, he avoided any hint of high-sounding rhetoric and refused to adorn the gospel with human wit or wisdom to make it go down easier, as if bribing his listeners with dessert to persuade them to eat their vegetables. The good news did not need any help from him.

Human wisdom tries to ascend to God, whether through education or self-help techniques or mystical experience. Human wisdom says it is up to us to cross the great divide. Christian wisdom starts with the opposite premise. It is God who comes to us. No one during Jesus’ earthly ministry comprehended this wisdom. They could not conceive of a God whose sublimity was hidden in lowliness, as church father Gregory of Nyssa put it.

God’s wisdom became incarnated in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, a lavish demonstration of God’s love for everyone – not simply for elites but for ordinary folks. Those are the very people God plans to lift up, redeem, even glorify. It is almost too much to take in. Perhaps that is why Paul calls it a mystery.


O Lord, thank you for your wisdom, which promises to bless simple and sinful people like us. Amen.