Sermons

Summary: Jesus was self educated, and was an intellectual of His day. He knew His nations past history well through His study of the Old Testament.

A teacher began his Sunday School class by starting a discussion. He said he was reading in the

Bible about a living dog and a dead lion, and he asked the class which they would rather be? There

was a pause, and then Jack spoke up and said, "I'd rather be the living dog. It's better to be alive

than dead any day." Alec spoke up and said, "Oh, I don't know about that. A dead lion has been a

living lion while a living dog will be a dead dog someday. I think I'd rather be the dead lion." A

third child had just sat in silence, but then he responded, "Well, I'd like to be a little of both. I'd like

to be a lion like the one, and alive like the other." I am sure the teacher was surprised at this clever

solution. Children can often surprise us with their ability to answer questions in ways that we would

not think of.

This was the case with Jesus when He was a child. One of the very first impressions we get of

Jesus is that He was a brilliant boy. He had a keen mind, and Luke makes a point of this fact. In

2:40 he writes, "The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was

upon Him." Luke goes on to show just how sharp His mental growth was by telling us of His

experience in the temple with the scholars. In verses 46-47 he says that Jesus was listening and

asking questions, and all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and answers. Jesus was

only 12 years old, but He was already a diligent student, and was able to carry on intelligent

conversations with mature theologians.

We are not to read into this that Jesus was putting the teachers of the temple to shame by His

superior wisdom. The language indicates that He was a student. He was learning from them, but

was a very keen student with provocative questions and perceptive answers. Luke closes the chapter

with another reference to the growth of Jesus in the four basic areas of manhood: The physical, the

intellectual, the spiritual, and the social. We want to focus on His intellect.

The very fact of the growth of Christ in knowledge and wisdom is a clear demonstration of the

reality of His full humanity. As a child He was not only not the omniscient God that He was in

pre-incarnate state, but He was not even a mature man. Jesus was a true child, and was immature

and ignorant of a great deal about life. He had to learn and mature by means of study, observation,

and by asking questions and listening to others. This is one obvious reason why we do not have any

record of the words and acts of Jesus as a boy and a young man. In that state when He had not yet

grown to full maturity of wisdom and perfection of mind, His words were not of eternal value. His

wisdom at that point was not worthy of being recorded for all generations, for it would not yet be

greater than the wisdom of the scholars of His day.

Jesus waited until His preparation was complete to begin His ministry of public teaching. His

years of silence up to that point were years of profound preparation in thought. Jesus was not just

killing time. He had a mother and family to provide for, but He was also developing His mind

through the study of Scripture. Jesus only had three and a half years of ministry, but He changed the

world because He developed quality of thinking. His mind was in perfect accord with the mind of

God before He acted. We can never know the IQ of Jesus, but we can assume that as a strong

healthy child with the pure human heritage of Mary, and the perfect divine heritage of the Holy

Spirit, that He was a genius. Apocryphal stories have Him teaching astronomy and other sciences of

the day, and there is no reason to doubt that Jesus could have done so. It is only doubtful that He

did because this was not His ministry. He did reveal, however, that He was a well educated man,

even though He did not attend any formal school of higher education.

In John 7:15 we see the response of the people to the teaching of Jesus in the temple. "The Jews

marveled at it, saying, how is it that this man has learning, when He has never studied?" G.

Campbell Morgan comments: "The emphasis of their question lay, not upon the spiritual teaching

of Jesus, but upon the illustrations He used, and upon the evident acquaintance with what was then

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