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Have we considered Jesus is the smartest man who ever lived?

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity on November 19, 2010 at 12:22 pm

“How did this wisdom and these miracles come to Him?

Matthew 13:54 b

Recently I listened to Dallas Willard professor in the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California lecturing on this issue and I had to admit I hadn’t really given this much thought. This really exposes our need to see Jesus as relevant to our intellect. This particular way of thinking makes Jesus the foundation of discipleship and promotes a profound respect outside of the more usual understandings the modern church seems to focus on. Thinking of Jesus as the one who forgives, heals the sick, and challenges the local religious establishment and their proud pious attitude is more common. Thinking of Jesus in this way is not wrong per se but without establishing His superior and eternal intellect the consequences are disastrous to the faith.

Why is the issue so neglected and over looked? We tend to think of the time He existed in the flesh as backward and barbarian. We spend a great deal of time thinking about His holiness but what about His competence? Unfortunately it seems He is the great “lifeguard in the sky” that rescues us when we are in trouble but not relevant to the intellect. This lack of relevance to our intellect and careers has drastic negative effects on taking the Great Commission seriously. The scripture is pretty clear when it comes to His wisdom.  “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people” (Luke 2:52 HCSB). Jesus engaged the most influential, wealthy, educated and powerful people of that day and confounded them with His logic. There seems to be a modern arrogance based on technological advances but the fallen nature of man is still the same.  If anything the modern man shares all the same moral shortcomings with the ancient man. Because of that similarity this makes Jesus intellect all the more relevant to modernity.

If the premise “Jesus is the smartest man who ever lived” is true how does that relate to our careers?

Looking at those who walked with Jesus and benefited from His contact in their lives they saw Him as the Master and the smartest man. He had so much influence in their lives it affected their work as servant, slave or master. Much is made of relationships at work, being honest, honorable, trustworthy, compassionate, dependable, and missionaries at their occupations. We are able to use the wisdom and Spirit given to us at redemption in our daily jobs as a blessing to those we are around and work for.

History shows those who followed Jesus saw his power over creation,  when He walked on the water, made wine from water, made bread and fish, most importantly He died and was resurrected. As Dallas Willard (the lecturer) stated Jesus was “the master of the molecule” he has the power over creation and life.

Finally Jesus is revealed as the “Mater of the moral life” for all to contend with. People were changed from wicked to good. His message is challenged but reality there is no other body of recognized moral knowledge that people can use to guide their lives. Jesus presents two pictures of moral understanding:

a. It can make life beautiful

b. It can enable us to become like Him (Christ in us) so that we can do the proper thing for our enemies pray for them or bless them. (Taken from Dallas Willard lecture)

This does not conflict with the idea that Jesus didn’t die to make bad people good but dead men live. This is the result of new life and certainty of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and his changing our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. The new life we have in Christ penetrates and permeates every area of our life including our intellect. I know my thinking has been challenged and I am committed to seeing Jesus as the smartest man who ever lived. Ideally it will affect all facets of my life including my career and pursuit of future endeavors. Living our lives in view of the intellect that Jesus has and is willing to teach us should give us cause to become better disciples and make more disciples. True belief moves us from mental assent to real mental and physical changes in our lives. No matter how our lives play out we have a clear understanding this is the worst it’s ever going to be for those who have been born again and the best it’s ever going to be for everyone else. Living with the view of Jesus as the smartest man who ever lived as our foundational understanding, allows us to trust His guidance in our lives no matter the current circumstance. This cannot be said any better than it was written!

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways! (Rom 11:33 HCSB)

 

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  1. Dan,

    Cool essay. Consider this, the start of the Reformation happens slightly before key events to the Scientific Revolution. And I believe Cardinal Bellarmine was involved in counter reformation efforts and then later he was dealing with Galileo. Yes the spirit leads into all knowledge.

    Another thing to consider is a possible origin of different worldviews. I would image that when Adam was created he had a more perfect mind than we do since he did not have the effect of sin (perhaps more intelligent). The Fall had a significant impact on our minds because of sin. But now skip over to Genesis chapter 11, the tower of Babel. All men still spoke the same language and arguably from the text, they all had the same worldview, perhaps a more complete one (part of the argument comes from the fact that to learn another language, one has to learn to think differently). God confused them so much that they could no longer communicate or understand one another. This implies that they had different worldviews and that they were partial or incomplete worldviews.

    Since the fall, our minds have actually been degenerating, and if was not for consistent intervention by the Holy Spirit, we would not have near the “advances” we have now. Christians can do Science, Business, War, Politics, whatever; better than non-Christians b/c of Jesus.

    Another cool little thing. Most people think that written communication is more advanced than oral, but is it. This mindset comes from our culture being ingrained with evolutionary ideas. In reality, if one was better or more advance than the other, oral communication would be it. If Adam had a perfect brain and could remember everything he learned, then he would not have had to write it down. He was literally talking with God in the garden while today we have to read His Word because of sin. I can’t wait to talk to Him, so yea, contrary to popular belief, oral communication is more advanced (or equal b/c of the differing uses of each), our brains just can’t handle it so we write stuff down, lol.

    In Christ,

    Stewart Allen

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