Jesus Grew in Stature and Wisdom

The Bible says Jesus Grew.

According to the Bible there is a very large gap of 18 years, almost two decades, in Jesus' life before his public ministry. This empty chasm is well known amongst studied Christians and popularly described as the missing years of Jesus or the lost years of Jesus.

Unusually, there is only one short sentence in the entirety of the Holy Bible that describes this unaccounted-for yet obviously eventful and incredibly important era of Jesus' early life. I can't imagine it would be uneventful and boring, would you?

Luke 2:52 says that, during this (forgotten?) history of more than half the Messiah's life, "Jesus grew in stature and wisdom". It is not in question that Jesus grew in stature, physically, since we know Jesus was born as a baby of his mother's womb on the Earth and grew to become a man in adulthood.

But what does it mean to grow in wisdom? Wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit. A person manifests the gifts of the Holy Spirit as one grows closer in relationship with God. So growing in wisdom describes a person's spiritual growth.

The Bible says that where there is the natural (physical) body there is also the spiritual body. If Jesus was "fully man" as Christians claim based on Hebrews 5:17 then he would have had to grow spiritually to perfection / maturity / completion just like everyone else, as Jesus emplored "Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect"..

Because Jesus was indeed "fully human" as Christians claim, his purpose in being so, according to the passage, was "so that he (Jesus) could become a merciful and faithful high priest".

Otherwise, why would you think it makes sense that God would place the fully formed adult mind of an already perfect man into the immature body of an incapable tiny little baby?

God becomes Jesus' Father.

Hebrews 5:5 says that "Christ did not exalt himself to become high priest, but was annointed by the One (God) who said to him (Jesus): "You are my Son, today I have become your Father"."

So, on a specific day, that is "today", God acknowledges Jesus as His Son and says that He (God) has become his (Jesus') Father. What did Jesus do to be acknowledged by God as His Son such that God could then say with joy that He has become Jesus' Father?

Hebrews 5:9 says "And once made perfect, he (Jesus) became for all those who obey him the source of eternal salvation..." So Jesus became the source of salvation only once he had been made perfect. Then, what was Jesus before he was perfect... if not perfect?

The author of Hebrew, in 5:11, admonishes the recipients of his heartfelt words, saying that "On this subject we have much to say and it is hard to explain, since you have become sluggish in understanding."

From Hebrews 5:12 onwards, the author's repremanding continues: "You should be teachers by now (sharing wisdom), but you are still in need of someone to teach you again the basic elements of God's revelation!"

"You have become people in need of (breast) milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the teaching about righteousness (not having wisdom or discernment), since he is still a child (immature)."

"But solid food (wisdom and discernment) is for the mature, for those who by virtue of their (spiritual) maturity have senses that are trained (not having been given them already properly developed) to distinguish good from evil."

The ability to distinguish good from evil is a gift of the Holy Spirit described in the Bible as discernment. Like wisdom, discernment is gifted to people who grow closer in their relationship with God and who do not remain immature spiritually into physical adulthood.

It is obvious and relevant to the revelation from God being given in Hebrews that the author is intentionally over-emphasising the contrast between spiritual maturity and spiritual immaturity, all the while chastising his audience for not understanding the revelation.

When Jesus became Perfect.

Hebrews 5:5 and 5:9 tells us that God Himself designated and annointed Jesus as high priest whereas Hebrews 5:1 clarifies that other high priests were chosen from among men and appointed on behalf of men.

The other priests were under the order of Aaron whereas Jesus was under the order of Melchizedek. Priests under the order of Aaron obeyed the law whereas Jesus obeyed the word of the oath (Hebrews 7:20-22).

Hebrews 7:11 says that "If perfection was attainable through the law then what further need would there have been for another kind of priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek rather than the order of Aaron?"

According to Hebrews 7:18, the law which the priests under the order of Aaron obeyed was not sufficient for them to become perfect because of its "weakness and uselessness". Indeed, Hebrews 7:19 says that "the law has made nothing perfect".

This is why, according to Hebrews 7:19-20, a new hope better than the law was necessary in order that a higher priest may come and attain perfection. That better hope, as in Hebrews 7:20-21, was "the word of the oath".

Contrary to the priests under the order of Aaron who could not attain perfection by odeience to the law, Jesus was made perfect by his "obedience" to the word of the oath (Hebrews 5:8).

Hebrews 7:28 confirms that "the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints the Son who (through his obedience to the oath) has been made perfect...". Obviously, Jesus is the Son as also referenced earlier in Hebrews 5:5.

The law which the priests under the order of Aaron (not Jesus) obeyed is the Levitical law. God revealed the Levitical law through Moses who was a descendant of Levi and therefore a Levite. You are probably most familiar with the law as the 10 Commandments.

Since the oath came "later than the law", we are given a reference in Scripture, Hebrews 7:28, to a specific time in history before which Jesus could not have been made perfect through his obedience, because the oath had not yet been given.

This means Jesus was made perfect through his obedience and thus recognized by God on that day as His Son, only during Jesus' physical lifetime after his physical birth on the Earth.

To clarify, according to the Bible, there is no succession of priests between Jesus and his predecessor, Melchizedek. So to whom was the word of the oath given, if not to the priests under the order of Aaron who obeyed the law?

Because Melchizedek lived before Moses who received the law, and the oath was given later than the law, the only other person under the order of Melchizedek who could have received the word of the oath was Jesus himself.

So the perfection of a high priest under the order of Melchizedek was not possible until Jesus himself received the word of the oath and obeyed it, which happened during his physical lifetime after his physical birth on the Earth.

How Jesus became Perfect.

As already referenced, in Hebrews 5:7-10, Jesus was made perfect through his "obedience" to the word of the oath which he "learned" "from what he suffered".

Now, you might be tempted to think that this passage highlights Jesus' brutal suffering on the cross. But if the suffering referenced in this passage was that of the cross then Jesus was not made perfect, mature or complete until after his crucifixion.

This is further clarified in Hebrews 2:10 where it says that "it was appropriate that God... should make perfect their (the believers') champion (Jesus) through (his) suffering."

So if you want to believe that Jesus became perfect only after his suffering on the cross and was not perfect at any time before he was crucified, then go ahead.

But if you do understand Jesus to have been perfect before he was crucified then the suffering through which he was made perfect as a result of his obedience must not have been the cross and instead happened before his crucifixion.

When you look at Hebrews 2:18 where it says that "because he (Jesus) himself suffered when tempted, he is able to come to the aid of those who are being tempted", it is clear that the suffering which Jesus faced prior to his crucifixion was that of temptation.

But how could Jesus be tempted if he was perfect? A perfect being cannot be tempted, otherwise God can also be tempted. This has nothing to do with the humanness of Jesus' earthly body, but rather the absoluteness of the standard of perfection itself.

If any perfect being could be tempted or could sin, then any other perfect being can also be tempted and sin. The only way any perfect being can remain perfect and impervious to temptation and sin, is if all perfect beings can never become imperfect.

Further, if God did put the fully formed adult mind of an already perfect man into the immature body of a tiny little baby, then Jesus would have no grounds to know what it's like to be "fully human" and so could not come to the aid of those who are being tempted.

The only way Jesus could be tempted as a man is if he was not yet perfect while being tempted and, by remaining obedient to the word of the oath while suffering this temptation, he overcame temptation, became perfect, and was thereafter no longer suceptible to temptation, giving him the authority to tell others to "Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect".

The fact that Jesus was born just like everyone else yet by his obedience overcame the same challenges we all face, elevates Jesus' perfection to a much higher level than if he had just been born perfect without having to put in any effort to become perfect.

So, by Jesus emploring people to "Be perfect / mature / complete...", like the author of Hebrews 5:11-14 is also urging us, he was telling people to just "Grow up!"


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God, our Creator, the One, is our eternally loving Heavenly Parent. Jesus is God's beloved Son, the resurrected Son of Man, and is our Way, Truth and Life. We are expected by God to excel in the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the sake of others and the establishment of the Kingdom. The Bible is the inspired Word of God and the Gospel is its central message.


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