"Listening to them and Asking Them Questions": The Humility and Wisdom of Jesus

Jesus, the embodiment of Divine wisdom and the source of all knowledge, sat as a young man among the religious leaders and listened carefully and asked questions (Luke 2:46). In the Incarnation, the eternal Son of God humbled himself and took on the fullness of humanity. What man truly is, Jesus truly is. And as he grew in age, he also grew intellectually as any other human would: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

Here in the temple, among the theologians of his day, Jesus exemplified humility. The young Son of God was interested in understanding, not in merely expressing his own opinion (Proverbs 18:2). He would not be drawn into the folly of giving an answer before he gathered adequate information (Proverbs 18:13). As the true Wise Man, Jesus wasn’t wise in his own eyes, but sought out knowledge and instruction (Proverbs 12:15; 15:14; 19:20).

As a result of his patient listening and thoughtful questions, Jesus amazed–Luke’s word–others with his “understanding and his answers” (Luke 2:47). His answers were good because they were grounded in reality; they were grounded in reality because Jesus had resisted the temptation of pride which makes men think too highly of their existing knowledge. We are ignorant because we do not know that we are ignorant. We can’t see reality because we believe we can see reality (John 9:39).

Not so with Jesus. In his humanity, the eternal Son of God recognized that he needed information and was thus able to grow in genuine knowledge. No wonder his answers provoked astonishment! Unlike many twelve-year-olds, Jesus did not approach these conversations as though he knew everything. He listened and asked questions.

What a model for us. If the perfect Son of God sought knowledge and wisdom and asked questions, how much more must we exercise the self-control of listening? How much more must we practice the discipline of asking questions so that we might give answers that are useful and to the point? If we desire to grow in our knowledge of the truth and in our ability to give answers that are grounded in reality, we will follow the Son of God by listening and asking questions.

Photo: Sujan Sundareswaran

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