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    August 12, 1897

    “Editorial. The Wisdom of Jesus” The Signs of the Times, 23, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Wisdom of Jesus. —“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.... And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.” Luke 2:40-47.SITI August 12, 1897, page 481.1

    Of one thing each reader of this narrative should rest assured from the very beginning, and that is that Jesus was not as we sometimes see it stated, “disputing with the doctors.” He was not doing anything that would be unbecoming in a child of twelve years. He was not putting himself forward, nor “showing off.” He was not presuming to teach those learned doctors of the law, nor showing the least disrespect to them. He was listening to their instruction, and asking them questions on what they were teaching, just as every listener was expected to do. He was seeking knowledge; more wisdom may sometimes be revealed in the questions of a learner than in the instruction of a teacher. The questions of the child Jesus, asked for the purpose of gaining information, showed that he already had a marvelous perception and grasp of truth, greater perhaps than had the doctors.SITI August 12, 1897, page 481.2

    Later in life, when he was engaged in public labor, “the multitudes were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” Matthew 7:28, 29, R.V. “And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagog, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?” Matthew 13:34.SITI August 12, 1897, page 481.3

    The true answer to this question is scarcely understood even by the followers of Jesus. If it were, there would be more of the same wisdom among them; for just as truly as Christ “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7, R.V.), so then “it behooved him be made like unto his brethren” (Hebrews 2:17), so truly did he possess no advantages over his brethren, and had access to no sources of wisdom that are not open to all.SITI August 12, 1897, page 481.4

    Made in all things like unto his brethren. —The common idea concerning Jesus is that he was born with special wisdom, and as an infant he possessed knowledge superior to that of most men, and that he did not need to learn as other folks do, but that his wisdom was inherited, so that he knew everything without any effort. Such an idea not only makes him a monstrosity, but it places a great gulf between him and us, so that we have nothing in common with him, and derive no help from him. All our hope and consolation in Jesus rest in the fact that, as partaker of flesh and blood, he was subject to the same infirmities that we are, as weak and helpless in himself as we are, yet without sin, and by the divine life dwelling in him made “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” He came to earth to let men know what God can do in human flesh; and just to the extent that we imagine him to have “natural” abilities superior to ours, do we deprive ourselves of the grace that is brought to us in him.SITI August 12, 1897, page 481.5

    The fact that Jesus was not born with greater knowledge than possessed by other infants, is indicated by the statement that he “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52. It would have been as incongruous for him to be born with perfect wisdom as to be born with full stature. He increased in wisdom as he grew in age and stature, just as other children are expected to.SITI August 12, 1897, page 481.6

    In the fiftieth chapter of Isaiah we have the Lord’s own statement of how he obtained the wisdom that made him the greatest Teacher the world has ever seen. That this chapter contains the words of the Lord Jesus is shown by verse 6, “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” Now read verse 4 (R. V.): “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of them that are taught, that I should know how to sustain with words him that is weary; he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as they that are taught,” or “as disciples,” Christ was himself a disciple, a learner from the Father, thus showing that only they who are learners can be apt teachers.SITI August 12, 1897, page 481.7

    Jesus made no claims to be the possessor of special gifts. He said: “I can of mine own self do nothing.” John 3:30. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.” Verse 19. These are not the expressions of false modesty, for Jesus spoke only truth, as he is the Truth; therefore as no man can be any weaker than not to be able to do anything of himself, or more ignorant than to know anything without being taught, even so there is no person in the world who does not possess the same advantages that Jesus did.SITI August 12, 1897, page 481.8

    Hear him again: “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” John 8:28. To Moses God had said concerning Jesus, “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”SITI August 12, 1897, page 481.9

    The Promises to All Believers. —All this is promised to all believers as well as to Jesus. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5. To “the captive exile” the Lord says, “I have put my words in thy mouth.” Isaiah 51:14-16, R.V. As “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself,” even so he has “placed in us the word of reconciliation,” so that he beseeches by us. 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20. If it is given to us to pray “in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God,” then of course the same grace, and the same gifts by grace, are bestowed upon us that were bestowed upon him. “Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” Ephesians 4:7.SITI August 12, 1897, page 482.1

    All this knowledge of Jesus came solely from the Word of God, through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. He asked wisdom and received it, just as we may. But we must not suppose that we are to ask for wisdom, and then go to sleep and wake up wise. We are to ask in faith, and that means according to God’s promise, which is this: “My son, if thou My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” “Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.” Proverbs 2:1-6, 9.SITI August 12, 1897, page 482.2

    To the simple, even to fools and scorners, God says, “Turn you at my reproof; behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” Proverbs 1:23. Jesus needed no reproof, for he did not turn aside from the way. He said, “An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him; and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.” Psalm 41:8. We have sinned, as he did not; but it we will turn at the reproof of the Lord, he will make known to us the same words of wisdom that he did to Christ; for Christ is made unto us wisdom, as well as righteousness.” 1 Corinthians 1:30.SITI August 12, 1897, page 482.3

    How little we have realized the wonderful depths and heights and breadth of wisdom that is contained in the Word of God, to be freely bestowed on all who will humbly, patiently, and prayerfully study them. Both Solomon and he who is “greater than Solomon” derived all their wisdom from this source alone, as we have learned by the inspired testimony of Solomon. God, who through Solomon said, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words,” “then shalt thou understand,” was speaking to his Son Jesus, and also to us, whom he accepts as sons equally with Jesus. Jesus listened and learned. He says, “The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.” Isaiah 30:3. He has said to us that if any man willeth to do his will, he shall also know. John 7:17.SITI August 12, 1897, page 482.4

    This wonderful knowledge is not hidden from children. Nay, the things that are hidden from the worldly wise and prudent are revealed unto babes. “I have more understanding than all my teachers; for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients,”—the old men,—“because I keep thy precepts.” Psalm 119:99, 100. This is not to the praise of the child, but of the Word, which any child, as well as Timothy and Jesus, may know.SITI August 12, 1897, page 482.5

    One thing must not be forgotten, and that is that such wisdom accompanies only true humility. The simplicity of real childhood must be maintained. We must always, even with the knowledge which the Word gives, confess that we know nothing except as we are taught. Natural pride, stubbornness, unwillingness to acknowledge that we have nothing and are nothing, are the hindrances to the acquirement of true knowledge; but we have the assurance that the same God whose power bestows upon us the wisdom of Christ is able also to give us his meekness. Let us then be not rebellious, but submissive to the Word of wisdom. E. J. W.SITI August 12, 1897, page 482.6

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