Our Lord as a Student
George H. Morrison
What our text implies is this, that our Lord gave the impression of a student. The Jews as they listened to Him recognized the accent of a cultured, educated man. Our Lord stood up in the Temple and began to speak, and whenever the Lord spoke, a crowd would gather. There was something about Him that compelled attention, though nobody could just say what it was. And the one question that sprang to every lip was, "Whence hath this man letters, never having learned?" He had never been at any Rabbinic school, never graduated from any university. He wore the garments of a common man and was evidently a provincial from Galilee. Yet as they listened to Him they recognized the student, the cultivated, educated man.
It is also a very striking thing that the nearer men got to Him, the more they felt it. It was when men were in closest contact with the Lord that they found, to their cost, His scholarly exactitude. There are people who from a little distance give the impression of admirable scholarship, but whenever you get near enough to them, you are pitifully disillusioned. But nobody who came right up to Christ was ever pitifully disillusioned; what happened was that they were overcome.
Think for a moment of the Rabbis. They had given their lives to the study of the Scripture. They had scorned delights and lived laborious days poring over the sacred word of Scripture. Yet never one of them encountered Christ but was beaten ignominiously from the field; our Master was the master of them all. "What," He would say to them, "have ye never read?" (Matt. 12:3, 5; Mark 2:25; Luke 6:3, etc.). How the very question must have rankled. Never read! They had been doing nothing else since they entered the Rabbinic university! Yet the proudest scholar of them all invariably was convicted of incompetence by this strange provincial from Galilee.
Nor did our Lord create that deep impression by any elaborate parade of learning. ...
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