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Jesus as Wisdom Personified

How does Jesus draw connections between himself and the wisdom of the Old Testament?

Written by Mike Biolsi on .

Notes

Wisdom 

A few weeks ago, we studied the passage in Matthew 11:16-19. I want to read a portion of that:

Matthew 11:18–19 CSB
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

When I preached on this passage, there was part of the verses that I left untouched. When you get to the end of verse 19 there is what appears to be a random sentence, “Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”  In Luke it reads a little different: Luke 7:35 “Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”” 

How many of you are familiar with Easter Eggs? Not the colored ones that kids decorate in the Spring, but the ones you find in movies and video games? They are hidden messages or levels that you have to look for. This is an Easter Egg - this is a nugget that helps us to unlock a whole new level of teaching in these passages and connects Jesus’s words in Matthew to other things.

When studying the Bible, some of the lessons are easy to understand. Others take some digging and research. But every now and then I come across these little eggs, things that are almost hidden but are there to explore. This morning I want us to chase one down together. 

When you think of the Bible and you think of Wisdom, what comes to mind?

wisdom literature - Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job?

Solomon - the wisest man who ever lived?

Women? Do any of you think of women when you think of wisdom? [obviously you wouldn’t think of men, if a man just asked that question! 😁 ]

Ecclesiastes and much of Proverbs were attributed to Solomon, and they both speak about wisdom. Of the two, Proverbs has something unique - Solomon (the man with way too many women in his life) refers to wisdom as a woman: we call her Lady Wisdom.

​Proverbs 1:20–33 CSB
20 Wisdom calls out in the street; she makes her voice heard in the public squares. 21 She cries out above the commotion; she speaks at the entrance of the city gates: 22 “How long, inexperienced ones, will you love ignorance? How long will you mockers enjoy mocking and you fools hate knowledge? 23 If you respond to my warning, then I will pour out my spirit on you and teach you my words. 24 Since I called out and you refused, extended my hand and no one paid attention, 25 since you neglected all my counsel and did not accept my correction, 26 I, in turn, will laugh at your calamity. I will mock when terror strikes you, 27 when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when trouble and stress overcome you. 28 Then they will call me, but I won’t answer; they will search for me, but won’t find me. 29 Because they hated knowledge, didn’t choose to fear the Lord, 30 were not interested in my counsel, and rejected all my correction, 31 they will eat the fruit of their way and be glutted with their own schemes. 32 For the apostasy of the inexperienced will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. 33 But whoever listens to me will live securely and be undisturbed by the dread of danger.”

Wisdom, in this passage, is personified  - made in to a character. She stands in the public square and the city gates, places of commerce and business, and she calls out to the people passing by. Her message is one of warning and repentance. 

how long will you rely on your own wisdom?

how long will you reject God’s wisdom?

Repent and experience life, joy, true wisdom and security

Fail to repent and face calamity

Then, the author shifts gears a bit and addresses the one reading as, “my son”. This is a common phrase that would have been used for disciples. They were viewed as children, sons. 

The challenge is to be a student of wisdom:

Proverbs 2:1–11 CSB

1 My son, if you accept my words 

and store up my commands within you, 

 

2 listening closely to wisdom 

 

and directing your heart to understanding; 

 

3 furthermore, if you call out to insight 

 

and lift your voice to understanding, 

 

4 if you seek it like silver 

 

and search for it like hidden treasure, 

 

5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord 

 

and discover the knowledge of God. 

 

6 For the Lord gives wisdom; 

 

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 

 

7 He stores up success for the upright; 

 

He is a shield for those who live with integrity 

 

8 so that he may guard the paths of justice 

 

and protect the way of his faithful followers. 

 

9 Then you will understand righteousness, justice, 

 

and integrity—every good path. 

 

10 For wisdom will enter your heart, 

 

and knowledge will delight you. 

 

11 Discretion will watch over you, 

 

and understanding will guard you.

In this instruction, we find that Wisdom is something we must seek after:

it comes from fearing the lord

it allows us to understand God

The teacher goes on to say that we need to make sure that we derive wisdom and instruction from the right places, from God and not our own:

Proverbs 3:5–6 CSB

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, 

 

and do not rely on your own understanding; 

 

6 in all your ways know him, 

 

and he will make your paths straight.

The book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom, it is wisdom literature, meant to instruct in how to be wise. It goes on to give example after example of how to be wise in the way you treat others, both friends and enemies, how to relate to God, how to parent, it gives wisdom for marriage, fiances and so much more. 

Eventually, we get back to lady wisdom… and another woman - "the forbidden woman”. 

Proverbs 7:1–5 CSB

1 My son, obey my words, 

 

and treasure my commands. 

 

2 Keep my commands and live, 

 

and guard my instructions 

 

as you would the pupil of your eye. 

 

3 Tie them to your fingers; 

 

write them on the tablet of your heart. 

 

4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” 

 

and call understanding your relative. 

 

5 She will keep you from a forbidden woman, 

 

a wayward woman with her flattering talk.

Make wisdom your sister - part of your family because she will keep you from the woman who will destroy you. 

Proverbs 7:6–27 (CSB)

6 At the window of my house 

I looked through my lattice. 

7 I saw among the inexperienced, 

I noticed among the youths, 

a young man lacking sense. 

8 Crossing the street near her corner, 

he strolled down the road to her house 

9 at twilight, in the evening, 

in the dark of the night. 

10 A woman came to meet him 

dressed like a prostitute, 

having a hidden agenda. 

11 She is loud and defiant; 

her feet do not stay at home. 

12 Now in the street, now in the squares, 

she lurks at every corner. 

13 She grabs him and kisses him; 

she brazenly says to him, 

14 “I’ve made fellowship offerings; 

today I’ve fulfilled my vows. 

15 So I came out to meet you, 

to search for you, and I’ve found you. 

16 I’ve spread coverings on my bed—

richly colored linen from Egypt. 

Proverbs 7:6–27

6 At the window of my house 

 

I looked through my lattice. 

 

7 I saw among the inexperienced, 

 

I noticed among the youths, 

 

a young man lacking sense. 

 

8 Crossing the street near her corner, 

 

he strolled down the road to her house 

 

9 at twilight, in the evening, 

 

in the dark of the night. 

 

10 A woman came to meet him 

 

dressed like a prostitute, 

 

having a hidden agenda. 

 

11 She is loud and defiant; 

 

her feet do not stay at home. 

 

12 Now in the street, now in the squares, 

 

she lurks at every corner. 

 

13 She grabs him and kisses him; 

 

she brazenly says to him, 

 

14 “I’ve made fellowship offerings; 

 

today I’ve fulfilled my vows. 

 

15 So I came out to meet you, 

 

to search for you, and I’ve found you. 

 

16 I’ve spread coverings on my bed—

 

richly colored linen from Egypt. 

 

17 I’ve perfumed my bed 

 

with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 

 

18 Come, let’s drink deeply of lovemaking until morning. 

 

Let’s feast on each other’s love! 

 

19 My husband isn’t home; 

 

he went on a long journey. 

 

20 He took a bag of silver with him 

 

and will come home at the time of the full moon.” 

 

21 She seduces him with her persistent pleading; 

 

she lures with her flattering talk. 

 

22 He follows her impulsively 

 

like an ox going to the slaughter, 

 

like a deer bounding toward a trap 

 

23 until an arrow pierces its liver, 

 

like a bird darting into a snare—

 

he doesn’t know it will cost him his life. 

 

24 Now, sons, listen to me, 

 

and pay attention to the words from my mouth. 

 

25 Don’t let your heart turn aside to her ways; 

 

don’t stray onto her paths. 

 

26 For she has brought many down to death; 

 

her victims are countless. 

 

27 Her house is the road to Sheol, 

 

descending to the chambers of death.

 

17 I’ve perfumed my bed 

with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 

18 Come, let’s drink deeply of lovemaking until morning. 

Let’s feast on each other’s love! 

19 My husband isn’t home; 

he went on a long journey. 

20 He took a bag of silver with him 

and will come home at the time of the full moon.” 

21 She seduces him with her persistent pleading; 

she lures with her flattering talk. 

22 He follows her impulsively 

like an ox going to the slaughter, 

like a deer bounding toward a trap 

23 until an arrow pierces its liver, 

like a bird darting into a snare—

he doesn’t know it will cost him his life. 

24 Now, sons, listen to me, 

and pay attention to the words from my mouth. 

25 Don’t let your heart turn aside to her ways; 

don’t stray onto her paths. 

26 For she has brought many down to death; 

her victims are countless. 

27 Her house is the road to Sheol, 

descending to the chambers of death.

This woman speaks of religious things but does things that would certainly not please God. We could spend weeks in this proverb, but let me just emphasize a few things:

she made fellowship offerings and vows to God. These are things that demonstrate a “relationship”, a covenant with Yahweh.

she was married - she had a covenant with a man

she is unfaithful to BOTH of those covenants

She has a hidden agenda, she promises a good time and pleasure, but in the end she will destroy him. Se is loud - she is in his face - making sure he cannot ignore her. The command is to “not stray from the path” - a phrase that should sound familiar from our study of Matthew 7 with the broad road and narrow gate.

So there is a lady of broken vows and hidden agendas that is seducing people away from wisdom and away from God - to their death. 

And then there is Lady Wisdom: 

Proverbs 8:1–12 CSB

1 Doesn’t wisdom call out? 

 

Doesn’t understanding make her voice heard? 

 

2 At the heights overlooking the road, 

 

at the crossroads, she takes her stand. 

 

3 Beside the gates leading into the city, 

 

at the main entrance, she cries out: 

 

4 “People, I call out to you; 

 

my cry is to the children of Adam. 

 

5 Learn to be shrewd, you who are inexperienced; 

 

develop common sense, you who are foolish. 

 

6 Listen, for I speak of noble things, 

 

and what my lips say is right. 

 

7 For my mouth tells the truth, 

 

and wickedness is detestable to my lips. 

 

8 All the words from my mouth are righteous; 

 

none of them are deceptive or perverse. 

 

9 All of them are clear to the perceptive, 

 

and right to those who discover knowledge. 

 

10 Accept my instruction instead of silver, 

 

and knowledge rather than pure gold. 

 

11 For wisdom is better than jewels, 

 

and nothing desirable can equal it. 

 

12 I, wisdom, share a home with shrewdness 

 

and have knowledge and discretion.

Above all of the noise, the voice of wisdom calls out to this foolish fellow, if only he will listen! Basically, the struggle is to follow the passions and desires that we think will bring us pleasure and happiness or to trust and believe that true pleasure and happiness are acquired from - and are found in God.

Wisdom goes on to say...

Proverbs 8:13–21 CSB

13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil. 

 

I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, 

 

and perverse speech. 

 

14 I possess good advice and sound wisdom; 

 

I have understanding and strength. 

 

15 It is by me that kings reign 

 

and rulers enact just law; 

 

16 by me, princes lead, 

 

as do nobles and all righteous judges. 

 

17 I love those who love me, 

 

and those who search for me find me. 

 

18 With me are riches and honor, 

 

lasting wealth and righteousness. 

 

19 My fruit is better than solid gold, 

 

and my harvest than pure silver. 

 

20 I walk in the ways of righteousness, 

 

along the paths of justice, 

 

21 giving wealth as an inheritance to those who love me, 

 

and filling their treasuries.

As we read on, we find out that Wisdom was created before our world was created, that she existed in the beginning with God and was creating with God:

Proverbs 8:22–31 CSB

22 “The Lord acquired me 

 

at the beginning of his creation, 

 

before his works of long ago. 

 

23 I was formed before ancient times, 

 

from the beginning, before the earth began. 

 

24 I was born 

 

when there were no watery depths 

 

and no springs filled with water. 

 

25 Before the mountains 

 

were established, prior to the hills, I was given birth—

 

26 before he made the land, the fields, 

 

or the first soil on earth. 

 

27 I was there when he established the heavens, 

 

when he laid out the horizon on the surface of the ocean, 

 

28 when he placed the skies above, 

 

when the fountains of the ocean gushed out, 

 

29 when he set a limit for the sea 

 

so that the waters would not violate his command, 

 

when he laid out the foundations of the earth. 

 

30 I was a skilled craftsman beside him. 

 

I was his delight every day, 

 

always rejoicing before him. 

 

31 I was rejoicing in his inhabited world, 

 

delighting in the children of Adam.

This person called Wisdom was from the beginning, was co-creating with God, was there when all things God created were good - including mankind.  OK - time to bring this rabbit trail back to Jesus! Let’s start with that passage where lady wisdom was with Yahweh in the beginning, creating all things and rejoicing over the children of Adam. 

Can you think of any other gospel passages that talk about “in the beginning”? 

John 1:1–4 CSB

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

 

Proverbs 8:32–36

32 “And now, sons, listen to me; 

 

those who keep my ways are happy. 

 

33 Listen to instruction and be wise; 

 

don’t ignore it. 

 

34 Anyone who listens to me is happy, 

 

watching at my doors every day, 

 

waiting by the posts of my doorway. 

 

35 For the one who finds me finds life 

 

and obtains favor from the Lord, 

 

36 but the one who misses me harms himself; 

 

all who hate me love death.”

This passage is talking about Jesus. He was in the beginning, was co-creating with Yahweh, and he brings life. 

Proverbs 9:10

10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, 

 

and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Is it possible that John wants us to connect Jesus to both God AND Lady Wisdom? #maybe If so, then we are further understanding the deity of Jesus as part of triune God. You cannot separate God from Wisdom or wisdom from God, Wisdom comes from God. Jesus IS wisdom incarnate - the ultimate personification. 

OK, now let’s look at some other connections:

Going back to Proverbs:

Chapter 7 - there is a message of death. Wisdom calls out to the streets to warn the naive of the certain death to come. 

Chapter 9 - wisdom has prepared a banquet at her house and sent our her servants to call the simple to come and learn from her and live.

Back to Matthew

Now, going back to Matthew 11, where this rabbit trail began today:

Matthew 11:16–19 CSB

16 “To what should I compare this generation? It’s like children sitting in the marketplaces who call out to other children: 

 

17 We played the flute for you, 

 

but you didn’t dance; 

 

we sang a lament, 

 

but you didn’t mourn! 

 

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

First, notice that Matthew personified Wisdom, and even refers to wisdom as a female. Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds/children. If you were a Jew, studying Scriptures, you certainly would be memorizing the words of the wisest man in your history - you would know of a woman named wisdom.

Many scholars understand this to be a reference back to Proverbs and Lady Wisdom. If that is the case, then there should be some connections we are intended to make between our Matthew/Luke teaching and what we just read about in Proverbs.

Well, let’s check out some of the parallels:

Common Elements

Matthew refers to children (vs 16) - this is a way to refer to students, and also how the author of Proverbs referred to his listeners: “my son” (1:8, 1:10, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, 5:1, 5:7, 6:1, 6:20, 7:1, etc). 

Calling out from the marketplace (vs 16) - wisdom calls out from streets & public squares (1:20-21),  at the crossroads (8:2) and at the city gates (8:3)

Children are calling out to other children (vs 16).

Proverbs 8:1–4 CSB

1 Doesn’t wisdom call out? 

 

Doesn’t understanding make her voice heard? 

 

2 At the heights overlooking the road, 

 

at the crossroads, she takes her stand. 

 

3 Beside the gates leading into the city, 

 

at the main entrance, she cries out: 

 

4 “People, I call out to you; 

 

my cry is to the children of Adam.

Common Themes

As you continue in Matthew 11:17 you read that there was a lament and a celebration, and they people did not respond favorably to either:

Matthew 11:17 CSB

17 We played the flute for you, 

 

but you didn’t dance; 

 

we sang a lament, 

 

but you didn’t mourn!

Lament (vs 17) - Proverbs 1 and 7 are laments, and harsh warnings about those who have chosen NOT to fear God.  These is even the story of Lady Folly who drags people down to the depths of Sheol. 

Proverbs 7:24–27 CSB

24 Now, sons, listen to me, 

 

and pay attention to the words from my mouth. 

 

25 Don’t let your heart turn aside to her ways; 

 

don’t stray onto her paths. 

 

26 For she has brought many down to death; 

 

her victims are countless. 

 

27 Her house is the road to Sheol, 

 

descending to the chambers of death.

Flute (vs 17) - there was a celebration. In Proverbs 9 Lady Wisdom has a house with seven pillars - seven represents both completeness and rest as in the seventh day of creation. In this restful place she has created a banquet and has an open invitation ⚡.

Proverbs 9:1–6 CSB

1 Wisdom has built her house; 

 

she has carved out her seven pillars. 

 

2 She has prepared her meat; she has mixed her wine; 

 

she has also set her table. 

 

3 She has sent out her female servants; 

 

she calls out from the highest points of the city: 

 

4 “Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!” 

 

To the one who lacks sense, she says, 

 

5 “Come, eat my bread, 

 

and drink the wine I have mixed. 

 

6 Leave inexperience behind, and you will live; 

 

pursue the way of understanding.

So, she has created a feast and call outed to the children to come and eat. 

I believe that Jesus was connecting HIMSELF to LADY WISDOM:

those that follow him find life

those that fear the Lord find wisdom

those that follow him find peace (hold that thought)

If that is the case, then it is the children of wisdom [those that follow the law of Yahweh and keep his commands, that do not stray off the narrow path] that end up being the testimony of Wisdom and show the value of following her.

Proverbs 8:22–31

22 “The Lord acquired me 

 

at the beginning of his creation, 

 

before his works of long ago. 

 

23 I was formed before ancient times, 

 

from the beginning, before the earth began. 

 

24 I was born 

 

when there were no watery depths 

 

and no springs filled with water. 

 

25 Before the mountains 

 

were established, prior to the hills, I was given birth—

 

26 before he made the land, the fields, 

 

or the first soil on earth. 

 

27 I was there when he established the heavens, 

 

when he laid out the horizon on the surface of the ocean, 

 

28 when he placed the skies above, 

 

when the fountains of the ocean gushed out, 

 

29 when he set a limit for the sea 

 

so that the waters would not violate his command, 

 

when he laid out the foundations of the earth. 

 

30 I was a skilled craftsman beside him. 

 

I was his delight every day, 

 

always rejoicing before him. 

 

31 I was rejoicing in his inhabited world, 

 

delighting in the children of Adam.

THAT *could* be one way that we are meant to understand wisdom being vindicated by her children.

John 1:1–3

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.

Jesus Ben Sirach

I want us to shift now, to another teaching about wisdom, but one you may not be as familiar with. 

If I said, “With great power comes great responsibility”.  Any of you know that reference? Sure, it is from the Spider-man movies. If you have seen them, you get the reference and you understand that connection.

In our study in Matthew, we have occasionally referenced external teachings, that are not found in the Bible, but that were common in society at the time. Often, these external references help us understand a concept that is being shared. 

In Matthew we had a series of, “you have heard it said” teachings by Jesus. Some of those sayings were from the Law and Prophets - others were from culture, such as the Code of Hammurabi. 

Jesus referred to the Wolf in sheep’s clothing - which some have attributed to one of Aesop's fables dating back a few hundred years before Jesus.

Both of these could be examples of Jesus using common stories of his day to connect with those who were listening. We do this today, when pastors have “illustrations” that relate to a scriptural teaching. 

The Catholic Bible and the New Revised Standard Bibles have a section of books in them called the Apocrypha. I believe these books were written between the words of Malachi and the time of Jesus. There are many reasons why they did not get into our protestant Bibles, but that is not the point of this message. 

CAUTION: when reading or referencing this books we should carefully examine them against scripture and not just give them the place of scripture. They may have some wise teachings, and they may also have some very wrong doctrines.  During the time Jesus was teaching these things, there were some teachings of a Hebrew scholar that were converted to Greek and were being read throughout the Hellenistic word - the Roman occupied Jewish regions.   

One of those books is The book of Sirach, or The Book of Jesus Ben Sirach, or Ecclesiastics. 

In his scroll, Jesus Ben Sirach, talks about Wisdom, and I want us to read some of his writings, because these would have been teachings that were circulating around Israel during the time that Jesus was on this earth: ⚡

Sirach 6:18–31 NRSV

18 My child, from your youth choose discipline, 

 

and when you have gray hair you will still find wisdom. 

 

19 Come to her like one who plows and sows, 

 

and wait for her good harvest. 

 

For when you cultivate her you will toil but little, 

 

and soon you will eat of her produce. 

 

20 She seems very harsh to the undisciplined; 

 

fools cannot remain with her. 

 

21 She will be like a heavy stone to test them, 

 

and they will not delay in casting her aside. 

 

22 For wisdom is like her name; 

 

she is not readily perceived by many. 

 

23 Listen, my child, and accept my judgment; 

 

do not reject my counsel. 

 

24 Put your feet into her fetters, 

 

and your neck into her collar. 

 

25 Bend your shoulders and carry her, 

 

and do not fret under her bonds. 

 

26 Come to her with all your soul, 

 

and keep her ways with all your might. 

 

27 Search out and seek, and she will become known to you; 

 

and when you get hold of her, do not let her go. 

 

28 For at last you will find the rest she gives, 

 

and she will be changed into joy for you. 

 

29 Then her fetters will become for you a strong defense, 

 

and her collar a glorious robe. 

 

30 Her yoke is a golden ornament, 

 

and her bonds a purple cord. 

 

31 You will wear her like a glorious robe, 

 

and put her on like a splendid crown.

Jesus Ben Sirach talks of taking on the yoke, or the burden of acquiring wisdom. It seems like a heavy load to some, and the foolish will give up early, but those who go all in and make the commitment, they will find that the burden of following wisdom is quickly lifted as the benefits of wisdom are realized. 

Yoke

Yokes are not something we often talk about, but they are still in use today. 

If you have a canoe and portage it by carrying it on your shoulders, you are probably familiar with a yoke. ⚡ It is most commonly a wooden bar with a cutout for your next to fit into.

Most of us think of bible stories or historical images of people carrying heavy burdens on their shoulders. ⚡This painting is a good example. 

However, if you are interested in the benefits of a yoke for carrying heavy loads, you can still buy them today - if you know the right place to shop. ⚡

A yoke was made to help you carry a heavy load. It was a tool that made your job easier. Jesus Ben Sirach said that to the fool, wisdom seemed like too heavy of a load. But to the student of wisdom, this burden eventually brings rest and joy and that eventually the burden will be a crown. 

This is a LONG scroll, by the way, and chapter 51 is about wisdom once again: ⚡

Sirach 51:23–30 NRSV

23 Draw near to me, you who are uneducated, 

 

and lodge in the house of instruction. 

 

24 Why do you say you are lacking in these things,

 

and why do you endure such great thirst? 

 

25 I opened my mouth and said, 

 

Acquire wisdom for yourselves without money. 

 

26 Put your neck under her yoke, 

 

and let your souls receive instruction; 

 

it is to be found close by. 

 

27 See with your own eyes that I have labored but little 

 

and found for myself much serenity. 

 

28 Hear but a little of my instruction, 

 

and through me you will acquire silver and gold.

 

29 May your soul rejoice in God’s mercy, 

 

and may you never be ashamed to praise him. 

 

30 Do your work in good time, 

 

and in his own time God will give you your reward.

Again, we have reference to the yoke of wisdom. The plea of the teacher is to embrace wisdom and find rest and peace for your soul. The teacher “labored little” but found much peace giving the idea that the yoke relieved the burden and was not too hard to carry. 

Remember, the teachings of Jesus Ben Sirach would have been circulating about the regions during the time Jesus was sharing his teachings. At the end of Matthew 11, Jesus is instructing his followers to be his disciples and learn from him:

Matthew 11:28–29 CSB

28 “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

One way to apply this passage is in relation to the harsh teachings and heavy burdens of the Pharisees and how they have misunderstood the purpose of the Law and have made following God much harder than it needs to be. This is probably something we will be looking at in the weeks to come. 

Two times in Sirach we read of taking the yoke of Wisdom and carrying a load. We also read about gaining peace and joy and rest for our souls from that load.

IF we are willing to accept that as a connection - we have a second reference to Jesus being Wisdom. 

While we often want to read Matthew 11:28-29 as verses of comfort that relieve the burdens we have in this life - of pain and sickness, brokenness and strife, it is actually more of a call to discipleship. 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom and by wisdom we gain life. Through wisdom we find peace and joy. Though wisdom we are kept from the enemy and death. 

Jesus, as personified Wisdom, is calling to the children to encourage us to follow Him and not folly. 

REMEMBER: our passage in Matthew is about WHO Jesus is and HOW people respond to him. 

Jesus is making a claim that he is Wisdom, and that those who choose to follow him take on a burden, but that burden will seem light when the benefits are realized. It IS still a burden - a load! Jesus does not promise freedom from the load or that he will take that load from us so we don’t have to carry it - he promises that those that choose to follow him will experience rest and peace and joy in the midst of the load.

In the middle of these two sections of verses in Matthew 11 Jesus makes this claim:

Matthew 11:27 CSB

27 All things have been entrusted to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal him.

Let’s go back to Proverbs 2: 

Proverbs 2:1–5 CSB

1 My son, if you accept my words 

 

and store up my commands within you, 

 

2 listening closely to wisdom 

 

and directing your heart to understanding; 

 

3 furthermore, if you call out to insight 

 

and lift your voice to understanding, 

 

4 if you seek it like silver 

 

and search for it like hidden treasure, 

 

5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord 

 

and discover the knowledge of God.

If you listen closely to wisdom then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge (or knowing) of God. Wisdom reveals God to us. 

It is through Jesus that we are able to truly fear the Lord and know Him. 

 

Looking beyond the surface at Matthew 11, and picking up on the Easter Eggs left for us, we can learn that Jesus was claiming to be the embodiment of wisdom, and as such, God. Those that embrace Jesus embrace wisdom. Those that reject Jesus reject wisdom and choose folly. We are encouraged, by Jesus, to become students of him - his children, and to carry the load He assigns - though it may seem heavy for a while, it brings rest and peace and joy and ultimately the knowledge of God. 

AGAIN, this is not a new teaching for this chapter, we have talked about it a few times already. However, this brings a new layer of understanding as to what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and what you gain by being a disciple or Wisdom.⚡

Ephesians 1:17 CSB

17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.

 

 

 


Jesus as Wisdom Personified

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North Country Fellowship Church
NCF was started in 1987 to minister to the growing population of Fort Drum and Jefferson County. Located in Carthage, just minutes away from Ft Drum, Lowville and Watertown, it is a blended congregation of local and military folks, single soldiers, young families and grandparents.