He Increased in Wisdom
Wisdom's Corner
He Increased in Wisdom

Almost everyone has read or been taught about the time that Jesus as a boy went to Jerusalem. His parents left Jerusalem and had traveled a ways home before realizing that Jesus was not with them. They go back to Jerusalem and find him in the Temple. He is with the learned men of the Law asking them questions (Luke 2:41-52).

Jesus was twelve years old when this occurred. Jewish law stated that a young man must be thirteen to go through the Bar Mitzvah. This religious ceremony made him a formal member of the congregation. And allowed him to join in the events in the Temple. But the law also allowed for the eleven and twelve year olds to be brought to observe the festivities. This allowed the boy to see what it was all about. The truly dedicated parents would bring promising young men at this age.

Many people have mistakenly believed that Jesus had miraculous knowledge as a boy. They believe that this is how he was able to be in the Temple with the learned men. But notice that Jesus was not teaching. He was asking questions and listening, Luke 2:46. The learned men were astonished at his understanding and answers. It does not say they were amazed at his teaching. Jesus does not begin teaching until after he receives the Holy Spirit at his baptism.

Also, we know that Jesus' first miracle was at the marriage in Cana. It was here that he turned the water into grape juice. If Jesus was miraculously teaching with knowledge and wisdom at the age of twelve, then the Bible is wrong to say that the event in Cana was his first miracle.

What the event in Jerusalem at the age of twelve demonstrates is that Jesus was a very intelligent young man who listened to and obeyed his parents. His parents were very devout in their faith. And they taught it to their son. In Luke 2:40 we are told that Jesus grew strong in spirit and was filled with wisdom. How do we know that this does not mean full wisdom and knowledge from God in a miraculous way? Because in verses 51 & 52 we are told that Jesus goes back home with his parents and is subject to them and that he increased in wisdom. If he already had miraculous wisdom how could he increase in wisdom?

There was one main criteria for a young man to be allowed to speak with the learned men in these special celebrations. The young man had to have a thorough knowledge of the scriptures in the Hebrew language. Jesus' parents had been very diligent in teaching him the scriptures. And Jesus was a diligent student. He applied himself in learning the scriptures.

This should teach us that we should be serious in learning the Bible. Jesus knew that the scriptures were given by the Father in Heaven. And he wanted to learn all he could. Do not under-estimate how much you can learn. Jesus is not the only boy who ever learned a great deal. But he obviously was an outstanding student of the scriptures. We are to follow his example.

Keep studying your Bible. Learn the wisdom of God. And if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.

Mark McWhorter

Copyright 1999

Published by The Old Paths Bible School