Friday, February 16, 2007

Jesus the brainiac

Talking about that Jesus story yesterday reminded me of how smart I think he was. Jesus is often portrayed as super gentle or sweet or angelic, but in many Bible stories he's also shrewd, sharp, brilliant, insightful.

Some examples:

  • Saving the adulterous woman from stoning: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." John 8:1-11
  • Outsmarting the priests: "The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?" Matt 21:23-27
  • Confounding the Pharisees with a little Scripture twisting: "If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?" Matt 22:41-46
  • Reading the minds of the scribes: "For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?" Matt 9:1-8
  • Refuting the claim that he worked through Beelzebub: "If a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand." Mark 3:22-26
  • Solving a gnarly political issue of his day: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's." Luke 20:19-26
  • Giving the great commandments, and acknowledging a scribe's goodness: "Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question." Mark 12:28-34

A lot of these stories end like that last one—he shut people up so effectively they didn't dare ask him any more questions. He caused consternation and got people thinking.

Jesus was just a really smart guy. He probably could have done anything with his smarts, could have been the Bill Gates of his day, or the Henry Kissinger. Instead he used his native intelligence to reason about the kingdom of God and bring the message of salvation to a starving world.

And, lest we think only Jesus could be that smart, remember Paul's counsel: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Mary Baker Eddy included this concept in her sixth tenet of Christian Science: "And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure."

There's an expectation here that we have it within us to follow the Master in all his ways, including in the expression of intelligence.

What would Jesus do? Something loving, something righteous—and something smart.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 2/16/2007 12:05:00 PM, Blogger Kim said...

love this blog!

Got me thinking of Jesus in new ways - Jesus the scientist, Jesus the artist, Jesus the caregiver, etc... Mostly I think of Jesus as the most profound and thorough healer of all times - and the one who showed us that with God all things are possible.

At 2/16/2007 05:45:00 PM, Anonymous Heather said...

That's neat to think about. :)

It's also another way of showing that wisdom doesn't come from worldly learning (although learning about basic addition and languages and such really does help). But true wisdom always comes from God, and is always provided by God -- as Jesus consistently demonstrated. The Pharisees and such were constantly looking to trap him through worldly wisdom, and Jesus constantly turned that around on them by relying on the highest wisdom of all: Mind.


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