Height of Wisdom; Depth of Foolishness
Today’s reading: I Kings 3-5; Luke 23:1-26
29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, 30 so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all other men, I Kings 4:29-31a
24 So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will. Luke 23:24-25
It would be hard to find a more drastic contrast of wisdom and foolishness in human rulers than the one we see in today’s readings: Solomon vs. Pilate.
Solomon is said to have “loved the Lord” and was walking in the statutes of his father, David (3:3). He did violate worship laws, but God mercifully came to him in a dream and offered to answer his prayer for whatever he desired. Solomon asked for an understanding mind to govern the people God had given him. God was pleased with the request. He granted it and much more to Solomon. Solomon was known for his wisdom both within the kingdom and internationally.
Under this wise king, Israel reached the pinnacle of its glory. Never before and never again would there be such a wise king and a prosperous kingdom. This golden age of Israel would continue until Solomon himself stopped obeying God and followed other gods.
By stark contrast, at Jesus’ trials (before the Jewish Sanhedrin and then before Pilate and Herod) the depth of foolishness is seen. The Sanhedrin found Him guilty on trumped up charges and spun those to imply some sort of revolutionary terrorist status to Jesus. Neither Pilate nor Herod found him guilty, but Pilate succumbed to the pressure of the crowd and sentenced Him to death by crucifixion.
As so often happens in history, the glory and wisdom that seemed promising in the early days of Solomon’s reign would not last, and the foolish and evil rulings of the Jews and the Romans that seemed to destroy Jesus’ ministry turned into the basis for the message of good news for all mankind. His Church has spread to every corner of the earth. Praise God that He is glorified in the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. He is glorified in the ongoing proclamation of the gospel throughout the world. He has shown how great is His power and wisdom in all the earth.