Here’s a vivid image: Jesus dancing with delight, rejoicing at the success of his disciples and the cluelessness of the “wise and the learned.”
What kind of God celebrates when smart people are clueless?
At that time, Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. (Luke 10:21)
An omniscient God is not impressed with the size of our intellect, but he is impressed by the size of our heart toward him. Sometimes we are tempted to believe otherwise, especially when the smart kids always seem to be running the church.
But what if our approach to following Jesus is fueled by the world’s idea of wisdom? Have we chosen a worldly method to serve an other-worldly kingdom?
The spirit of this age respects knowledge. It’s a given.
Knowledge trumps ignorance.
Knowledge is power.
Knowledge is self-authenticating.
When we bring the spirit of this age to our study of Scripture, we emphasize the texts which serve the value of knowledge. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” How many Christian books have opened with Hosea 4:6 as a call to study?
We have loved knowledge since the Garden of Eden. Perhaps we have loved knowledge more than we have loved our Creator.
In our day, the western church presents a view of discipleship based upon ever-increasing knowledge, and Christianity becomes a subject to be mastered. As a result, those who are smartest become the “best” disciples. The spirit of this present age tells us knowledge is good because it is knowledge.
But what if the smartest among us know nothing of love?
Yet woven into the fabric of the biblical witness is the still, small voice of relationship. It warns of the dangers of knowledge. “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up,” comes the whisper.
Later on, the voice grows: “Where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” We discover the voice coming from Paul’s prayer closet, interceding on our behalf, “I pray that you … may have power … to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” Perhaps we can learn from Paul—one of the greatest minds in history—that knowledge can never drive us to love.
Ever since the Word, full of grace and truth, visited the earth, his voice echoes: true knowledge grows from love, and apart from love, knowledge cannot be true.Ray Hollenbach, a Chicagoan, writes about faith and culture. He currently lives in central Kentucky, which is filled with faith and culture. He facilitates DEEPER Seminars, an exploration of what it means to follow Jesus.