What It Means to Be Human: Wisdom

David Bast

Read: Mark 6:1-6

Where did this man get these things? (v. 2)

When Jesus talked about the kingdom of God, he regularly blew people’s minds. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew says the people were “astonished at his teaching” (Matt. 7:28). Astonished because Jesus spoke with such authority. And astonished because Jesus’ wisdom seemed like foolishness, with its topsy-turvy system of values.

Søren Kierkegaard, the 19th-century Christian philosopher, offered a parable to describe Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom. Someone breaks into a store one night, but instead of stealing anything he just rearranges all the price tags. The next day customers arrive to find diamond necklaces on sale for pennies and junk with price tags in the thousands. Jesus’ wisdom is like that. It overturns our values. What we think important he dismisses as trivial. What we despise he prizes. What we hold precious he counts worthless. What we call failure he judges to be success. Those we admire he condemns, those we scorn he honors. Everything is turned upside down when we substitute Jesus’ wisdom for worldly wisdom.

So the question remains. Where did Jesus get all this? Jesus’ first hearers thought they had him pegged. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” But what if he really did know what he was talking about? What if his wisdom came from his other Father?

Our response to Jesus’ wisdom reveals just how wise we are.  —David Bast

Prayer: Jesus, give me wisdom to value what you do.