How Could Christ Increase in Wisdom?

Tim wrote: I was in a recent discussion with a new man at work and he mentioned Jesus growing in wisdom. Wisdom? The creator of Heaven and earth needing to grow in WISDOM?

Remember John 13: 3.  Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;

He already knew everything. What does growing in WISDOM mean when it comes to Jesus?

James replies: To answer your question, Tim, let us first consider what the Bible says regarding Christ incarnate:

Philippians 2:5-7  Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; (ASV)

Jesus became a man and gave up some of the things He had before He was incarnate.  “All wisdom” was one of those things He gave up.  “All power” was another.  He also gave up the glory that He had with God before the world was.

Jn 17:5  Now, Father, glorify me alongside yourself. Give me the same glory I had with you before the world existed. (CJB)

While He was on the earth, Jesus did not enjoy the same glory as He had before He came to earth (Jn 8:59, 10:31), Jesus had emptied Himself of His glory.  He also emptied Himself of His full grown likeness of God because He was a babe in body.  Therefore, we should not be surprised to find that He had also emptied HImself of all wisdom and grew up as a normal boy would grow up. 

I think that His success in avoiding sin was not due to having the full attributes of God expressed in His person before the HS came, but rather due to His divine character and His being born directly from the Father (Lk 1:35) and not from Adam (I Cor 15:45) and thus not being under the curse of Adam (Gen 3:17-19).

It is also interesting to note that at Christ’s baptism that the Holy Spirit was given unto Him (Mt 3:16).  If He already had all power and all wisdom in heaven and on earth, then why did He need the HS?  Christ would have already been equal to God in every respect and Christ receiving the Holy Spirit would have been bringing coal to Newcastle, so to speak.  If Christ was already equal to God in every respect while He was on earth, of what significance was it that He was given all power in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18) because of His obedience (Php 2:8-9)?

In summary, I believe that when Jesus was a babe in the manger, He was no more spectacular than any babe, except that He was well behaved.  While He was subject to His parents (Lk 2:51), He was no more spectacular than a normal obedient teenager, for His brethren did not believe He was the Son of God (Mk 3:21, Jn 7:5).  Jesus received His powers after His water baptism when He was baptized with the HS.  After He was annointed of God, then He began to work miracles (Jn 2:11).  Before His baptism, except for His obedience, you could not have distinguished Him from any other boy.  The evidence is that Jesus grew in wisdom just like He grew from a babe into a full grown man.

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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