In the 1980s I was a teenager, and I loved video games. Donkey Kong and Phoenix held my attention and gobbled my quarters. I would dabble with Defender and Centipede, but I never excelled with those.
One day at an arcade 1in Montgomery, Alabama I met a girl near Donkey Kong. We started a two player game and she scored more on her first man than I would score in my whole life (100,000+ points!). Maybe I should have forfeited, but went ahead and took my first turn. I got smashed right off and slamming my hand down beside the joystick jarred something loose in the game. That machine turned OFF! The machine was not the only thing that went off. The girl, also, did. She did not yell and scream, but she was none too pleased.
How good would perfect people be at video games?
How could one be perfect and have any fun at video games? My young brain really loved video games, but I was not permitted too much play time. Heaven for me definitely included serious time on an Atari, but the piece that gave me grief was whether playing a video game in heaven would be a bad experience. After all if you are perfect how can you make errors? Would Donkey Kong in heaven be boring since you would never get killed?
My 12 or 13 year old “worries”
If there had been a Play Palace in Palestine 2,000 years ago would Jesus have wiped out all competition? Would he have lost on purpose to be an encouragement to others? What about when I died and went to heaven? Would my then favorite pastime be there, or does perfection thwart games? I was not worried about making it to heaven, but worried about being bored when I got there.
So I guess 12 year olds are not immune from bigger questions and the need for real answers. Thankfully my dad was no “video game Pharisee” in 1982 and allowed me to play in moderation. I never got an answer to those 12 year old worries; I will when I arrive in heaven, though.
Another 12 year old
40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. 41 Now [Jesus’] parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when [Jesus] was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.
…the parents left Jesus behind and then went back to find him…
46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
…after they found him they went home…
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.(Luke 2:40-42,46-47,52–ESV)
So, Jesus, too, was interested in spiritual things at a young age. While he was perfect in his behavior he was not born filled with all knowledge and understanding.
The NASB2 for verse 40 says the following, “The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom…” The word increasing uses a present participle. The present participle expresses continuous or repeated action. Colossians 1:10 3uses this same construction when it speaks of our growth in the knowledge of God.
Couple this to verse 52 in the ESV (“kept increasing” as the NASB renders it) and one can see that the knowledge which Jesus had was steadily being built out. He was growing in maturity like we do. This is further substantiated by Paul’s words to the Philippians.
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:6-7–ESV)
Hebrews 2:14 says that he “shared in their humanity.” So, Jesus had emptied himself of the exalted things. This included his omniscience, his all-knowledge.
Bottom line, Jesus re-learned, if you will, from his experiences in life and the connection he had with God as he grew older. His spiritual maturity, his wisdom was assembled as he went through life.
Where did the parables of Jesus come from?
When Jesus taught and ministered to the Israelites of his generation he often used parables. Have you ever thought where he got those? He was teaching and revealing at the same time so the parables were his original works. He was not copying them from the religious leaders of his day or from the lessons of surrounding cultures. They were not Roman in origin.
The parables of Jesus were metaphors and analogies he had personally drawn. He had observed and learned. He had a habit of getting alone with God the Father in prayer. I know that I come to certain conclusions while praying. I learn and am taught by the Holy Spirit in those moments. Jesus would also have had this experience though when coupled to his wisdom and his lack of a sin nature he would have far excelled anything I have known.
His parables would have been his explanations for the things he sees on earth. They would have been his explanations for why some people respond to the truth and some reject it. Lessons on evangelism, the steady growth of the kingdom of God from small beginnings to a filling of the earth, prayer, loss, redemption, eternity, forgiveness, and many other things were given this way.
Jesus experienced life on earth as we do. He was familiar with suffering and tempted in the ways that we are tempted. He grew and learned from those things. Out of those things and from his depth of learning he taught the people of his day. Those teachings are both needful and useful to us as well. The Holy Spirit will engage our minds and build out our understanding. Will we invest time and thought along those lines?
As a 12 year old I had questions and as a 12 year old Jesus had questions. I had to learn and Jesus had to learn. The parables of Christ were his creations. They were the things he had learned made accessible to the common man. Jesus learned as a child and Jesus taught as a man.