Teaching Fools for Christ September 24, 2015

By 11:07 AM

My God is foolish.

To create human beings with free will, with the ability to say No, with the freedom not to return love for love; with the right to choose alienation rather than life to the fullest.

To share his life with human beings knowing they would turn against him.

To make a covenant with a people knowing that they would break the covenant and do abominable things in his sight: fashion a molten calf as a god.

Do marvelous deeds, when they grumbled for food, feed them, when they complained about water, provide for them in a desert.

When they acted like a harlot, lured them back into the desert, purified them and wedded himself to them as if they were a virgin bride.

Heard their cry in exile and led them back to the land flowing with milk and honey. Sent them prophets whom they rejected and killed; finally sent his only Son whom they rejected and killed--but knowing this beforehand. Lavished the gift of the Spirit upon them out of love and experienced being spurned by them repeatedly through sin.

How more foolish can God be? The story of the woman and the spider.

"As I see it, God has put us apostles at the end of the line, like men doomed to die in the arena. We have become a spectacle to the universe, to angels and men alike. We are fools on Christ's account....Up to this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, poorly clad, roughly treated, wandering about homeless. We work hard at manual labor. When we are insulted we respond with a blessing. Persecution comes our way; we bear it patiently. We are slandered, and we try conciliation. We have become the world's refuse, the scum of all; that is the present state of affairs." I Cor 4:9-13

Jesus was a fool for the Father.

"Though he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. He was known to be of human estate; and it was thus that he humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross." Phil 2:6-9

"The Son of Man (has come) not to be served by others, but to serve, to give his own life as a ransom for the many." Mt 20:28

He proclaimed the love of God with signs and wonders and he was called a Beelzebub--a drunkard and glutton who associated with public sinners; he was called a law-breaker; a blasphemer.

For Jesus, in his humanity, to take five loaves and two fish and feed 5,000 was foolish; to cry out for Lazarus to come forth after being dead and buried in a tomb for four days was foolish; to suffer the ridicule of the mourners outside of Jairus' house and then to raise the young girl was foolish; and then to tell the parents not to say anything to anyone was foolish.

To be mocked, scourged, crown with thorns, condemned to death on the cross as a common criminal, to surrender his life to the Father was foolish.

To be rejected by the Samaritans, by the leaders, by the people of the Gerasene territory and to continue to act as if none of this affected him was foolish. He should have followed John's advice and called down fire upon these people.

Even his own family thought that he had gone crazy. They were embarrassed by what Jesus was saying and doing and the public's reaction. If they could, they would have kidnapped him and spirited him away from Jerusalem for their sake and his.

Jesus was a fool to touch lepers. He risked contracting this horrible disease, but more especially he risked ritual impurity.

Jesus taught a Gospel for fools.

Only a fool for Christ would believe and embrace the paradoxical words of Jesus as truth leading to full life.

"The man who loves his life loses it, while the man who hates his life in this world preserves it to life eternal." Jn 12:25 How can anyone take him seriously?

"If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in my footsteps." Mt 16:24 That's suicidal.

"Unless you change and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of God. Whoever makes himself lowly, becoming like this child, is of greatest importance in that heavenly reign." Mt 18:3-4 That's against our adulthood.

"Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest, and whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all." Mt 20: 26-27 That's contrary to all we have been taught.

"Many who are first shall come last, and the last shall come first." Mt. 19:30 That's unfair.

"Unless you leave Father, mother, etc and come follow me, you cannot be my disciple." That's too much to ask.

The parable of the Good Samaritan

The parable of the Forgiving Father

"Blest are the poor in spirit....Blest too are the sorrow­ing....Blest are the lowly....Blest are those persecuted for holiness' sake....Blest are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you because of me..." Mt 5:3-11 That's counter-culture.

"I solemnly assure you, the man who has faith in me will do the works I do, and greater far than these." Jn 14:12 Who can believe?

"Offer no resistance to injury. When a person strikes you on the right cheek, turn and offer him the other. If anyone wants to go to law over your shirt, hand him your coat as well." Mt 5:39-40 That's weakness.

"Love your enemies and do good; lend without expecting repayment." Lk 6: 35 Would anyone in their right mind act this way?

Fools for Christ: those who believed and follow them were fools.

"The message of the cross is complete absurdity to those who are headed for ruin, but to us who are experiencing salvation it is the power of God." 1 Cor 1:18

"God chose those whom the world considers absurd to shame the wise; he singled out the weak of this world to shame the strong. He chose the world's low born and despised, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who were something." 1 Cor 1: 27-28

Look at the fools in the Gospels, in the post-Pentecost era and down through the ages.

Mary was foolish to believe the message of the angel, telling her that she was to be the mother of the Savior by the power of the Holy Spirit. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." It is foolish to give control of one's life to someone else.

John the Baptizer prepared the way for the Messiah, proclaimed a message of repentance, confronted the public sin of the king and was beheaded without seeing the fulfillment of his message.

Simon Peter, James and John witnessed the miraculous catch of fish and left everything and became his disciples, which ultimately led to their deaths.

Levi a wealthy tax-collector heard Jesus' personal invitation, "Come, follow me." left all and immediately became a disciple.

The penitent woman, known to be a sinner, barged into Simon's house, stood behind Jesus at his feet, weeping so that her tears fell upon his feet. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissing them and perfuming them with oil.

The woman with the hemorrhage for twelve was a fool to think that if she but touch the tassel on his cloak she would be healed.

Jairus was a fool to believe that after the servants told him that his daughter was dead and hearing Jesus say: "Fear is useless; what is needed is trust."

Zacchaeus, the tax collector, was a fool to climb up the sycamore tree to better see Jesus as he passed by.

The apostles were fools when after being told not to speak about Jesus or else they would be punished they responded: It is better for us to obey God than men." Acts 5:29

The apostles were scourged by the Sanhedrin. "The apostles left the Sanhedrin full of joy that they had been judged worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of the Name."Acts 5:41

Only a fool like Peter could say to the crippled beggar at the temple gate: "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you! In the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazorean, walk! Then Peter took him by the right hand and pulled him up." Acts 3:6-7

Only a fool like Stephen would continue to praise Jesus and proclaim him Lord and Savior, while they were stoning him to death.

Only fools would sell their property and goods, dividing everything on the basis of each one's need.

Only a fool would allow himself to be ill-treated and put upon as Paul was for the sake of the person of Jesus. "Now I am really talking like a fool....Five times at the hands of the Jews I received forty lashes less one; three times I was beaten with rods; I was stoned once, shipwrecked three times; I passed a day and night on the sea. I traveled continually, endangered by floods, robbers, my own people, the Gentiles; imperiled in the city, in the desert, at sea, by false brothers; enduring labor, hardship, many sleepless nights; in hunger and thirst and frequent fastings; in cold and nakedness." 2 Cor 11:25-27

Only a fool like Paul could say: "we were crushed beyond our strength, even to the point of despairing of life. We were left to feel like men condemned to death so that we might trust, not in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead." 2Cor 1:8-9

Only fools would act like Paul and Silas who were in chains in prison and who prayed and sang hymns to God at midnight, while knowing that they faced death the next day.

"May I never boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through it the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me. I still live my human life, but is a life of faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me."

Only a fool could say I will forgive 70 x 7

Only a fool like Lawrence could say when he was on a spit over a fire: "Turn me over I'm done on this side."

Only a fool like Monica would pray unceasingly for 30 years for the conversion of her son Augustine.

Only a fool like St. Theresa could say when thrown out of a cart while praying: "No wonder you have so few friends."

Only a fool like Pope John Paul II could go to the prison to personally pray for, forgive and embrace the man who attempted to assassinate him.

Only a fool like Mother Teresa of Calcutta could pick up a dying leper or an aids victim and nurse their wounds and immerse them in love.

Only a fool like the lay evangelist in Malaysia could kiss his wife and children good-bye every weekend, go into the bush country to proclaim the message of Jesus in a Moslim country at the risk of his life.

Only fools for Christ would pray over food so that the hungry of Juarez could be fed on Christmas Day.

Fools for Christ seek to decrease that he may increase.

Only a fool would believe that God would become man like us in all things but sin; would suffer and die as a criminal or a cross, and rise again on the third day.

Fools for Christ trust not in self but in God, even in times of difficulty. Fools for Christ hear his word and puts them into practice. They are like the man who built his house on solid rock in contrast to the fool of the world who hears the word but does not put it into practice.

Fools for Christ remain in a state of readiness to serve the Lord like the wise virgins who were ready to greet the bridegroom when he came later than expected, and not like the foolish virgins.

Fools for Christ totally depend on him to provide for them as they go about doing the work of the kingdom. "Seek first the kingdom of God over you, his way of holiness and all these things will be given you besides."

Fools for Christ acknowledge him before others. "Whoever acknowl­edges me before men I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. Whoever disowns me before men I will disown before my Father in heaven." Mt 10: 32-33

Fools for Christ know they cannot avoid temptations, but keep their eyes on the Father like Jesus when tempted.

Fools for Christ are led by the Spirit.

Only a fool can love unconditionally; only a fool can walk by faith and not by sight.

Only a fool is content with weakness, with mistreatment, with distress, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, knowing that because of God's grace--in weakness power reaches perfection.

There are other fools in the scriptures who are not foolish for Christ but worldly wise.

Herod, who thought he could eliminate the new born king by killing all the young boys under the age of two.

Herod the Son, who thought by beheading John the Baptist his troubles would be over.

Caiaphus, the High Priest thought it was better for one man to die than for the nation to suffer.

The rich man who could not let go his way of life to follow Jesus.

The many Pharisees, Sadduccees, Scribes and Herodians who tried to trip Jesus up and discredit him in the eyes of the people.

Judas who sought to hasten his hopes and dreams rather than fully accept the plan of God.

The Samaritans who didn't receive Jesus as he went through their district on the way to Jerusalem.

The inhabitants of the Gerasenes who asked Jesus to leave their territory after the healing of the the possessed man.

The nine lepers who were satisfied with physical cure but missed the gift of salvation by failing to be grateful.

The inhabitants of Nazareth who could not believe that Jesus was other than the son of Joseph and Mary and thus Jesus could work only a few miracle because of their lack of faith.

The disciples who walked away because they couldn't accept the word of Jesus when he said he would give them his Body to eat and his Blood to drink.

The crowd who clamored for the release of Barabas and the death of Jesus.

The tax collectors who heard the same message as Levi but couldn't give up their lucrative business.

The prostitutes and public sinners who heard the same call as the repentant woman but wouldn't act on it.

The legalist who demanded that the letter of the law be followed rather than the spirit of the law.

The false witnesses who accused Jesus of things he did not say were paid fools.

The soldiers who thought by guarding the tomb they could prevent the resurrection.

The inhabitants of Jerusalem who refused to heed the prophetic word of Jesus.

Pontius Pilate who thought by washing his hands he would be freed of his act of cowardice and injustice by condemning Jesus to death.

The one criminal who blasphemed Jesus from the cross.

Simon the magician was a fool to think he could buy the power to impart the Holy Spirit.

I choose to be a fool for Christ rather than a fool without Christ. For the fool for Christ will be exalted and blessed while the fool without Christ will be the fool damned forever.

To be a fool for Christ is a faith decision; to be a fool without Christ is a hopeless decision.

I am a fool for Christ. Whose fool are you? 

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