September 2, 2022
As I am preparing to teach my Theopolis Zoom class (“Infancy and Maturity in the Messiah’s Kingdom”), I have been reflecting on the integral relationship between maturity and wisdom.
Wisdom is not simply knowledge. It is true that biblical wisdom has as its core the intimate knowledge of God’s Word. But in Scripture, experience with conflict seems to be a key element in applying that knowledge in mature wisdom. Wisdom arises within the context of conflict and suffering. This is the pathway to maturity.
We can see this in the juxtaposition of Adam and Jesus (the new Adam). Adam in some ways is created as an adult but has no life experience, and therefore he is not just “given the car keys.” The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (a function of mature wisdom) is withheld from him. When conflict arises in the form of the tempter, instead of growing through applying the word he has received, he waits to see what will happen to Eve, and then grasps for something for which he is unprepared.
In the case of Jesus, immediately upon his baptism he is driven into the wilderness to be tempted by the serpent. As with Eve, he cites the word of the Father, but in his case that word trumps what the tempter has to say. This is part of the process of conflict and suffering by which he is “perfected” (i.e. matured and completely prepared for his task; the Hebrew and Greek words carry similar ranges in this regard). This often does not sound right to us (“Jesus didn’t need to undergo such a process! He’s God!”) — but it’s what we are explicitly told in Hebrews 2:10 and 5:8–9.
Do you want to grow up in Christ? Learn the Word, and face conflict and suffering in faith and faithfulness.