Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Learned Lord


And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?  John 7:15 (KJV)

As the Jews listened to Jesus they got the impression he was an educated man. When our Lord stood up and spoke, a crowd would gather. There was something about him that compelled attention, though nobody could identify what it was. He was just a carpenter from a small town in Galilee; he had never been in any school to become a Jewish Rabbi, and never graduated from any university. Yet as people listened to him, they recognized he had the knowledge and wisdom of the learned.

It is also an amazing thing that the nearer people get to Jesus the more they recognize his scholarly intellect.  Some people can give the impression of being educated, but when people get close to them they soon become disillusioned. But nobody who came close to Christ was ever disappointed; instead they were overwhelmed by his abilities. The Jews had given their lives to the study of the Scripture; yet when they encountered Christ they recognize that they had met their Master. When they questioned him, he would ask, "What? Have ye not read?" Then, he would he give them understanding of what they had read.  The greatest scholar among them was probably convicted of his incompetence by this extraordinary teacher from Galilee.

The Pharisee’s learning lacked originality or imagination, and usually consisted of endless quotes from other authorities.  They were out of touch with reality with their meticulous details about the law which offered no grace and was the despair of common people; but, our Lord didn’t attempt to create a deep impression by any elaborate parade of knowledge. With perfect and unfaltering ease He handled the most perplexing themes! With common and familiar examples, he enlightened what was dark! Where others stumbled, groping around for big-many-syllable words, our Lord communicated so a little child could understand. There is such perfect mastery about Jesus, such ease of conscious and complete power. He represents more that the excellent intellect; he is the epitome of life. His intellectual processes are stunning, because His life and character are. He unashamedly proclaims, "I come to do thy will, O God."

Christ had the courage to be himself.  Many a young preacher of the gospel who might have had an admirable ministry soon begins imitating somebody else, and when that happens that minister might as well quit.  Jesus received his training at home, and in the synagogue, and faced tremendous pressure from the elite of his day but he refused to be overpowered by the traditions they touted.   He swept aside the status quo and went to the very heart of matters. He recognized the truth that everyone else missed; therefore his revelations were refreshing. No wonder that people who listened found their hearts beginning to burn within them as He talked with them along the way.

Also, everything the Lord gained from Scripture and from nature was obtained while working.  It is commonly supposed that Joseph died when Jesus was still young, and he became the sole support of Mary and the children, working from morning sun till its setting. There was not much leisure time for him to spend studying, but  while he worked he undoubtedly stayed in touch with his heavenly Father who taught him by his Holy Spirit what to know and how to live to God’s glory. Then, when he went out to minister to the public, He was perfectly equipped intellectually and spiritually.  He yielded the sword of the Lord from the very outset of His ministry, even when tempted by the devil to worship him instead of his Father.

Some of us may be just like Jesus and have little time or opportunity for a worldly education, but just remember to be yourself, and do what Jesus did. Don’t forget that the One who was once a carpenter in Nazareth is now sitting by his Father’s throne in heaven. He got there through listening to the One who said: For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  (Isaiah 55:9 (KJV) The Master understands the temptations we face, but we can learn obedience just like Jesus by listening for our Father’s still small voice.

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