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Monday, January 4, 2010

Socrates and Those Other Guys

And it came about that after three days 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. Luke 2:46, 47 (New American Standard Bible)

I recently did a search on the Internet on men of ancient wisdom. Names like Socrates, Sophocles, Confucius, Aesop, Euripides, Aeschylus, Lao Tzu and Cato came up. Interestingly the name of Jesus of Nazareth was not even mentioned. Why is the most profound thinker and source of wisdom to ever live not even included among the men of great wisdom?

As a pre-teen, the wisdom and insight of this remarkable person amazed the elders of Israel. These were the religious men of the day, the “seminary trained” of the nation, who spent their lives studying and discussing Scripture. Isn’t it a remarkable witness of Jesus of Nazareth being the Anointed One that at 12 years old His wisdom and insight astounded these learned men? What does this tell us of Jesus the person? The wisdom of Jesus is even to us today astounding when we read what He said. For instance, the woman taken in adultery is a prime example. Instead of reprimanding her accusers or haranguing them with the Torah He brought them to leave the scene with the simple statement of “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” I tend to want to go for the throat while Jesus goes for the heart. Can we not say Jesus Christ was the most brilliant man who ever lived? Again when the Pharisees tried to entrap Him with treason concerning paying taxes to Rome He did not jump to justify a position but simple spoke truth; “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” How profound.

As we truly stop to inspect the words of Jesus we can only stand amazed. Many people of the past who went to the Gospels to destroy their distinction and renown were stunned by what He had to say and came to the firm belief that He is the Son of God. It gives greater credence to the other things He had to say about Himself, for example, He and the Father are One (John 10:30) and He is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him (14:6). This is the same Person who created galaxies and stars by the word of His mouth (Genesis 1:14-16). His legacy to those who have believed on Him is total and unbreakable. His words are carved in eternal stone, His deeds and Being confirmed by historical witness. Jesus Christ is the wisest, most brilliant man who ever lived. When it comes to Socrates and all those other guys the words of Jesus are indeed the wisest of the wise. His words are life.