How Did He Learn So Much?

Series: Christology

Link to sermon video: How Did He Learn So Much? - T Siverd


Sermon By Terry Siverd /October 30, 2022 / Cortland  Church of Christ  - -


As we begin to bring this sermon series to a wrap, I want to back-pedal this morning just a bit to revisit a prior subject.

Over the last three months, I've kept a notepad of sub-topics that I felt might benefit from some addition elaboration.


Way back in early August, when we first began this series on Christology, we addressed a few select

passages of Scripture from the opening pages of Luke's gospel that focused on the early years of Jesus.


Following Jesus' circumcision (8th day post-birth), Jesus was presented at the Jerusalem temple.  Lk.2:39-40 states - -

And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galiiee, to their hometown in Nazareth.  And the Child continued to grow & become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of was upon Him.


Lk.2:41ff tells of another time when Jesus journeyed with His parents to observe the Passover feast in Jerusalem.

You remember - -  on their return home, Jesus came up missing (at least from His parents' point of view).

They thought He was in among the family-friendly caravan, but they could not find Him (Lk.2:44).

Three days later they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them, and

asking them questions.  And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers (Lk.2:46-47).


When His parents discovered His whereabouts they were astonished and His mother rebuked Him (Lk.2:48).

Although Jesus respectfully responded to them, His parents did not fully understand His “excuse” (Lk.2:49-50).

Jesus returned to Nazareth with them and continued in subjection to them (Lk.2:51).  Then Luke summarizes,

writing in Lk.2:52 - - And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.


Next we read of Jesus' baptism (Lk.3:21-22) and immediately afterwards Lk.3:23 makes the observation - -

When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age.


About a year or so into Jesus' teaching ministry (which spanned 3½ years) we read of an adult incident in Jn.7:14-15 - -

When it was now in the midst of the feast (passover - - cf. Jn.2:13) Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach.

The Jews therefore were marveling, saying, 'How has this man become learned, having never been educated?'


Today's sermon title is borrowed from the New Century Version of this Jn.7:15 text which reads:

The Jews were amazed and said, 'This man has never studied in (rabbinical) school.  HOW DID HE LEARN SO MUCH?'

   This is our subject for our study this morning.


When we delve into the arena of Christology it requires that we take into account the dual nature of Jesus' incarnation.

Jesus was both fully God - - as declared by Paul in Col.2:9 / In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.

Jesus was also fully human - - as declared by Paul in Heb.2:17 / He had to be made like His brethren in all things...


We will never come to correctly comprehend this all-important dual nature of Jesus if we fail to acknowledge Heb.2:17.

Yet without Col.2:9 our concept of Jesus remains inadequate.  He was not just a mere man, He was indeed GOD The Son.

In his first epistle to Timothy Paul used a phrase, “the mystery of godliness” which addresses this dichotomy (1Tim.3:16).


We will never rightly understand the incarnation if we fail to emphasize His full humanity.

As we seek to grasp the human side of Jesus we cannot help but wonder, How did He learn so much?


Some struggle to integrate His dual nature.  If the truth be known, some don't know what to do with His g-r-o-w-t-h?

If He was fully God then they conclude that He was automatically omniscient or all-knowing.

Being all-knowing, God is not on a learning curve like we are.

He doesn't get smarter and wiser as the years go by.  After all, you can't improve on omniscience. 


If such is the case, then how does one explain the voice of Scripture which states plainly that

(Jesus) continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom (Lk.2:40 & 2:52)?


The only reasonable answer to this potential dilemma is to factor in Paul's words recorded in Philp.2:7 - - 

(Jesus) emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of man...


It is this declaration from Paul that enables us to heed Peter's exhortation - - that we FOLLOW IN HIS STEPS (1Pet.2:21).

If, as God the Son, Jesus was also fully human then we can truly follow our Lord's example and walk in His steps.


Thus far this sermon has been basically a re-hash of points we have previously considered.

But now we must ask again, from the standpoint of being a full human, HOW DID JESUS LEARN SO MUCH?


Jesus was taught well by His mother and father.

In light of all that they'd seen and heard (the Nativity revelations and the temple encounter at age twelve), it is unimaginable to think that Joseph and Mary did not prioritize the study of the Scriptures.  cf. Deut.6:4ff and Prov.1:8   


Concerning Timothy Paul gave this admonition (2Tim.1:5 & 2:14):  I am mindful of the sincere faith within you,

which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and you your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well...

Continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them;

and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom...


Jesus learned much from His exposure to scriptures from teachings offered via the synagogue and temple.

Formidable scholars such as Alfred Edersheim (The Life And Times Of The Messiah) go to great lengths to point out

the preeminence of Biblical instruction in the homes of Jewish families in the first century.  It was even deemed unlawful

to live in a place where there was no school.  Such a city deserved to be either destroyed or excommunicated.

In these “school-houses” for those between the ages of 5-10 the Bible exclusively was their one and only text.


Scrolls or texts of Scriptures were purchased (Acts 8:28) at a high price and cherished and shared among families.


“The Grace of God was upon Him”.

This announcement was the exclamation point to a concise summary statement made by Luke (Lk.2:40).


Peter makes a similar declaration when he sums up the ministry of Jesus to the household of Cornelius (Acts 10:38) - -

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and

how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.


Following His temptation in the wilderness, Lk.4:14 states that He returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit...

Lk.4:16-18 records - -  He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered

the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.  And the book of prophet Isaiah was handed to Him.

And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written:  'The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me...'.


Isaiah's prophecy contains multiple “servant songs” - - Scripture citations concerning the Servant Messiah.

The first is found in Isa.50:4-5 - - The Lord...awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple

We often think of Jesus as the ultimate disciple-maker.  And He was.

But before He became a disciple-maker He spent the first 30 years of His life as a disciple - - a listener and learner.


If we could return to the text that provides our sermon title for today, Jn.7:15.  Jesus responded to the Jews who pondered aloud, “How has this man become learned?...”  Jesus therefore answered them, and said, 'My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.  If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God...'.


Throughout the three decades plus that Jesus was immersed in His humanity He became saturated with Scripture.


Even when we read of the apostles being inspired to speak and teach (Jn.14:26 & 16:3), this did not negate or rule out their need for the private and personal study of the Scriptures.  Paul applauded the Bereans (Acts 17:11) - -  for they

received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so. for


The fact that Peter & Paul and James & John and a host of others were guided by the Holy Spirit did not cancel out their humanity.  The same could be said of Moses & Elijah, Isaiah & Jeremiah, John the Baptizer and JESUS. 

In the case of all of these, “It is written” was a typical preface to their spoken words.


Some might argue that Jesus' knowledge of the sacred writings was given to Him in a wholly super-natural fashion, but I tend to think that His keen familiarity with the Old Testament writings were acquired more naturally, by intense reading & studying and searching & storing up Scriptures in His heart and mind, in a way that parallels our human experience.

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