Sermons

Summary: The mind of Christ has had a great impact on this world, greater than any other mind. His church has done more to influence the intellectual development of mankind than any other institution.

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 spoken of

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