We do, however, speak a message of wisdom . . . but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.
1 Corinthians 2:6
The year is A.D. 55. You are standing in front of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It is the Temple of Artemis, Goddess of Fertility. Everything about it is extravagant and massive. It dwarfs the Parthenon of Athens in terms of size. And it’s much more beautiful. Double rows of columns surround it―127 columns in all. Each column is sixty feet high and six feet thick, with intricate carvings and precious metals covering every single one. Pilgrims and tourists pour in from around the civilized world to see it. The famous and the powerful come to pay homage. Perhaps more than any other structure, the Temple of Artemis symbolizes the dominant culture and wisdom of the age.
Several blocks away a man is composing a letter. His name is Paul. He’s in the middle of a three-year stay in the area as he shares with others the good news of Jesus. As Paul writes, the sights and sounds and platitudes and presumptions that flow from the Temple are all around him. None of it seems to bother Paul, however. He understands that, while cultures and worldly wisdom will come and go, the message about Jesus Christ will remain. Sure, it might seem like foolishness to the rest of the world. But the good news about Jesus is the very wisdom of God. As such, it slices through the temporary and fleeting. It speaks to the heart of humanity’s problem. The message of God becoming a human being to carry the world’s sin to the cross is the only thing that will heal a world of broken souls. Paul knows this.
It is the present day. You are standing where the great Temple of Artemis once stood. It is now a swamp. Frogs croak in the background. A bird’s nest sits on top of the temple’s one remaining column. The wisdom of Artemis is gone. But the wisdom of God remains.
Lord Jesus, in the shifting shadows of this world, you are the answer. You are my answer. Amen.
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