41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.Luke 2:41-52
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Imagine Mary and Joseph as they realized their son Jesus was not with them in the caravan. I chuckle to myself as I picture Mrs McCallister from the blockbuster hit “Home Alone” straightening her back with eyes wide open as she yells “Kevin”! Maybe Mary and Joseph had a conversation like Kate and Peter McCallister; “How could we do this? We forgot him. We didn’t forget him, we just miscounted. What kind of a mother am I?” Moments like this in the narrative cause our minds to wander and speculate about the absent details because these moments are serious and full of emotion.
Although the two parents arrive in Jerusalem full of worry, their hearts were comforted when they found their son safe and sound. Jesus implies that they ought to have known where he would have been, but his parents did not understand. Did they feel humiliation or frustration? If so, did they speak rashly to their son through guilty consciences? We certainly do not know. But Jesus was a good boy and yielded himself to his parents’ wishes immediately. It was time to go and Jesus left his new friends in the Temple behind, but he knew he would see them again. Their conversation was not ended but paused. Jesus will certainly return to the Temple again soon.
Can God Learn?…
To learn is to pass from the state of ignorance to the state of knowledge. Can God learn? No. First, God can not be ignorant. God is Omniscient (all-knowing). God does not learn (Psalm 139:1-6) because His knowledge is perfect or infinite. Second, God does not learn because He is unchanging or Immutable (Malachi 3:6). God does not move from one state of being (ignorance) to any other state of being (knowledge). Third, God can not learn because He is the creator of all that is (Acts 17:24-28). Fourth, God can not learn because God is Eternal and not bound by time. God’s knowledge is not gained in successive moments and is therefore simultaneous. God can not learn because He is God.
Omniscient is a word that means “knowing everything… he knows the future no less than the past and the present, and possible events that never happen no less than the actual events that do. Nor does he have to “access” information about things, as a computer might retrieve a fill; all his knowledge is always immediately and directly before his mind.J.I. Packer, Concise Theology
On the surface, there seems to be a problem. On the one hand, we believe that Jesus is God and on the other hand we believe that Jesus did learn. Jesus was in the Temple, as a student, listening to the teachers and asking questions. Does believing Jesus to have learned seem like a contradiction? R.C. Sproul often said, the law of non-contradiction states, “A cannot be A and non-A at the same time and in the same relationship.” Do Bible-believing Christians have a contradiction in their faith? No. We don’t actually have a contradiction because Jesus is truly God (A) and truly man (B). The problem isn’t a contradiction or a logical inconsistency, but our problem is trying to think correctly about the mystery of the incarnation.
The historical Definition of Calcedon stated, “Following, then the only fathers, we all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us one and the same Son, the self-same perfect in Godhead, the self-same perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man; the self-same of a rational soul and body; coessential with the Father according to the Godhead, the self-same co-essential with us according to the manhood; like us in all things, sin apart…” In this ancient articulation of the incarnation is a correct way to think and speak of the God-man. We are taught to recognize that in the one person of Christ is two natures, one divine and one human. Therefore, we speak carefully to not confuse Jesus’ divine nature with His human nature. So we may truly speak of Jesus learning “according to the manhood” and knowing all things “according to the Godhead”.
Learning is part of our human nature, so why could Jesus be learning? Jesus learns because He is truly human. This truth stretches the mind to challenge its elasticity. I find myself joyfully content and simultaneously hungry for answers. What I must do in seeking answers is to ask good questions and be patient and receptive. Jesus is our example here. His maturing intellect must have asked the most brilliant theological questions ever uttered by a twelve-year-old. I am certain that his questions at twelve years of age would have caused this forty years old to stand still in amazement. Jesus seeming loved to ask questions even as an adult. It was a method of teaching He seemed especially fond of employing. I look forward to the day I may learn from Him face to face and hear His voice ask me some gloriously deep question to which I would be unable to answer except to replay, “O Lord God, you know” or “Lord teach me”.