40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
1901 ASV Translation:
40 And the child grew, and waxed strong, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
I. The Details of Jesus' Development as the Redeemer.
A. The imperfect tenses of "growing" and "strengthening" indicate an on-going process.
B. The "growing" was "active", but the "strengthening" was passive.
1. The issues are highlighted by the "voice" switch.
a. Growth is presented as an active issue.
b. Being strengthened is deliberately presented as something happening to Him as He was growing.
2. The focus is upon the "strengthening" aspect...
a. The word itself indicates the particular part of "strength" that comes from that process of organization that is involved in martialing resources to a task. There is an assumption of available resources. These resources are limited to the reality of the humanity of the Child.
b. The whole idea of martialing resources to a task involves the "task". Since Jesus is destined to be the Redeemer, that defines His task in a broad, general way. But, the first aspect of that task is succeeding where the Sinner failed.
1) In the revelation regarding how the Sinner failed, there is little doubt that the adversary used a significant subterfuge in addressing his "task".
a) He approached the issue from the direction of the blessing that had been given and absorbed into the perception of "Life" to the degree that it was no longer seen as a "blessing one could do without", but a "provision that was inherently necessary for Life".
i. Adam knew he had previewed the "possibilities" in terms of a helper that was truly suitable to him.
ii. Adam knew that it was not "good" for him to be "alone".
iii. Since the fall it has been standard proceedure to attach man to his blessings as necessities (idols) so that any threat to those "now-necessities" will immediately produce a craven yielding that is accompanied by hostility toward the One Who insists that there be no such "idols".
b) He was not concerned that Adam be "deceived" in terms of what Yahweh had declared would happen if one ate the fruit of the tree; he was only concerned that Adam be "deceived" regarding whether he could "live" again in his "solitary" state.
i. 1 Timothy 2:14 says that Adam was "not deceived". This statement must be taken with some limitations. There is no "subtlety" involved if there is no "deception" (Genesis 3:1). Paul seems to be saying that Adam was not deceived in the sense that he "believed" his "life" would be better if he ate. Apparently Adam despaired of "life" once Eve ate. It was not that he thought he could "live" if he ate; rather, it was that he thought his "life" was over, so there was no point in not eating. The context of 1 Timothy has to do with the proper understanding of the words of God so that one can teach another. Paul excludes women from "teaching" men because Eve was "deceived" about whether "life" could come through disobedience. Adam knew that would not happen.
ii. The issue of the fall was Adam's despair over "life" and his anger toward God for tying his "life" to Eve. Adam did not sin without hostility toward God. He sinned because he was hostile. The gravest danger in all the universe is the seed of hostility that lies buried in the soil of selfishness.
2) In the revelation regarding how the Savior succeeded, it is "obvious" that He did not grasp "Life" as the undeniable objective.
a) Jesus was put into a setting where all was at risk (a significant contrast to Adam's setting where the only risk was Eve's disloyalty).
b) Jesus "knew" that food, relationship, and significance were essential to "Life".
c) He also "knew" what Adam did not: that "life" is undeniable to those who do not grasp it so that they are willing to lose it. The fatal flaw in Adam's mind was his lack of understanding that the fact of "Eve", arising out of Yahweh's recognition that it was not "good" for Adam to be solitary, was not a "solitary" fact. If Yahweh had been initially willing to resolve the "not good", why did Adam think that He would not do it again?
3. The passivity of the "strengthening" is crucial.
a. Luke presents "strengthening" as the result of "being filled with wisdom".
1) This is another "passive", but it is "present" in tense...thus, the Child was being strengthened (imperfect, passive, indicative) by being filled (present, passive, participle)...".
2) The "filling" was with "wisdom".
a) This is the crux: wisdom is the skill of application of truth to life so that the down-line, long-term results of action taken in a cause/effect universe bring "blessedness" instead of "cursing".
b) The "filling" with "wisdom" means that, on a day to day basis, the Child was being brought along to clearly understand what the fundamental principles of wisdom are and how those principles apply to the particulars of the day's circumstances.
b. Luke ultimately presents what is happening to Jesus as the consequence of the final statement: Grace from God was upon Him.
1) In the theology of grace as the New Testament develops it with great clarity, God is foremost in the picture of what is.
a) Grace, at its core, is essentially Godinaction...His wisdom, His power, His choices, and His activities in harmony with His Overall Plan.
b) Grace, by its most clear illustrations, takes man completely out of the picture as an initiator-actor.
i. Paul says in Ephesians 1 that "grace" is most clearly seen in the context of divine predeterminism (a concept that generates howls of rebellion from those who do not wish Him to be the Final Arbiter of what will be).
ii. The New Testament presents the "grace" of God as the fundamental root of both the activities and accomplishments of Jesus, the Christ, and the Other Comforter, the Holy Spirit...neither of whom give any acknowledgement of man's capactity for righteousness as an "independent creature". The Christ even said of the most wicked actions of man in regard to His own murderous death that "No man taketh My life from Me...I lay it down of Myself" (John 10:18). Thus, man cannot even take credit for being a significant contributor to the redemption-by-death process.
2) Jesus, as the growing Child, was completely under the influences of the grace of the God of Redemption -- making it absolutely sure that the Child would succeed where Adam failed.