In addition to being the greatest teacher of the masses, he also discipled the few. He “hung out” with the twelve disciples for three years, eating with them, praying and worshipping with them, modeling the life of the kingdom of God for them, walking with them, and answering their questions. His discipleship was a life-on-life process of simply “being there” with them. He was their friend and gave them their voice.
His wisdom was greater than the wisdom of Solomon: “The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here” (Luke 11:31).
But Christ is not only the wisest man. Paul reminds us that “Christ [is] the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). He is Wisdom incarnate, the very manifestation of Wisdom in bodily form.
We find that in the Old Testament wisdom is personified – likened to a woman standing on the street corner calling people away from folly and inviting them into the realm of understanding and discernment. This is illustrated in Proverbs 1:20-33; 3:15-20. Read this in Proverbs 8:1-3:
Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights along the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
beside the gates leading into the city,
at the entrances, she cries aloud . . .
Like a mother crying for her children, she stands beside the gates of the city. The gates of the city in Biblical times were not merely defensive; they were also the places where the people of the city gathered for commerce, for the adjudicating of the law, for the proclamation of public announcements and for other forms of community life. So Lady Wisdom comes to the city gates to make her plaintive cry. And what was wisdom’s cry? Proverbs 8:4-11:
To you, O men, I call out;
I raise my voice to all mankind.
You who are simple, gain prudence;
you who are foolish, gain understanding.
Listen, for I have worthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.
My mouth speaks what is true,
for my lips detest wickedness.
All the words of my mouth are just;
none of them is crooked or perverse.
To the discerning all of them are right;
they are faultless to those who have knowledge.
Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with he.
These words are the plaintive call to all mankind to exchange simple-mindedness for prudence and foolishness for understanding. Wisdom speaks of right over wrong, truth over falsehood, justice over corruption, godliness over ungodliness, beauty over ugliness. Wisdom speaks of her worth as more precious than silver, gold, or rubies.
In Proverbs 8:32-36, wisdom establishes her credentials as a matter of life and death:
Now then, my sons, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not ignore it.
Blessed is the man who listens to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the LORD.
But whoever fails to find me harms himself;
all who hate me love death.
The end of this section is chilling. To heed wisdom is to love life. But, those who despise wisdom are fools, who harm themselves and who love death. What an indictment! Fools love death!
-Darrow L. Miller