Luke 2.40 The child grew
and became strong. He was full of wisdom, and God's blessings were upon
We all like having
someone to look up to and admire. Finding such people and making them
famous is big business in much of today's world. From the teenage pop
group to the sports idol, a high public profile can be worth millions.
Photographers swarm around celebrities like ants, knowing that a good
picture can earn pots of money. Glossy magazines seek exclusive access
to celebrity functions and weddings, paying heavily for the opportunity.
Millions are poured into political programs to build celebrity status
for those who want public office.
never change. History witnesses to the same thing way back as far as
records go. So it's hardly surprising that the first Christians sought
celebrity status for Jesus. Within a few short years Paul and others had
proclaimed the humble Nazarene as the Jewish Messiah who would shortly
establish God's rule over the whole world. By the time John's Gospel had
been written, Jesus had become one with God in heaven, a celestial
The Lukan story of how the young Jesus astonished
Jewish sages with his wisdom is part of this early trend. It is a tale
which picks up a strand of the culture of Jesus' day in which wisdom
emanated from God and indeed was God ...
A reflection of eternal
A spotless mirror of the workings of God,
And an image of his goodness. (Wisdom 7.26)
promotion of Jesus as an up-and-coming young celestial celebrity doesn't
work too well nowadays, except perhaps with the over-credulous. We well
know that a very few children may be wise for their age. But they can't
compete with adults. More importantly, the very concept of wisdom has
largely disappeared from the common mind. Who ever heard of a
competition on radio or television to find the nation's wisest person?
Quizzes and IQ tests and telephone votes, yes. But "wisdom indicators"?
A hard truth is that Jesus is no longer as important as he once was.
Rather, insofar as he is noticed at all, he is recognised in most
cultures today as one of us in every respect. If he informs our way of
life it is because we recognise in him a kind and degree of wisdom we
perceive in nobody else. But he is not now a celebrity, maintaining a
high profile by means of hyped-up claims by religious counterparts of
publicity agents and profile managers. Such a celestial celebrity has
become a symbol, not of wisdom, but of gullibility and immaturity.
Not even high-blown tales of early genius, like those in Luke's Gospel,
can retrieve Jesus' celestial celebrity status from the past.