Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Who is the smartest person you know?
When I was five, I probably would have said my dad or my mom. Close to 20 years later, I am aware that while they are incredibly smart people, they are not the smartest I know.
Junior high and high school introduced me to a world of scientist, philosophers, and writers who at one time or other where probably the smartest people I could name--Einstein, Thoreau, Faulkner, MLK, Steven Hawking, Plato, Socrates, Leonardo, so on and so forth.
College introduced professors, modern and post-modern thinkers, theologians, socialists, etc.
But now, right now, today, who is the smartest person I know or know of?
I want to entertain what, as I read it last night, was a revolutionary idea for me--though I can't get past the fact that it shouldn't be so revolutionary. It makes perfect sense.
The smartest person I know is Jesus. The smartest man to ever walk this earth was Jesus--Rabboni as those closest to him knew him.
Currently Ike and I are walking our way through The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard and discussing Willard's radical (and yet somehow not quite so radical) theories of Christianity. As I read last night, I was hit over the head with the idea that Jesus really is smart.
He knew how to change molecular structure to turn common H2O to wine. He knew the ultimate antibodies for any disease. He could literally create matter from energy. "He knew how to suspend gravity, interrupt weather patterns, and eliminate unfruitful trees without ax or saw." Ethically, his understanding of life has influenced the world more than any man prior to him and any after. "And one of the greatest testimonies to his intelligence is surely that the knew how to enter physical death, actually to die, and then live on beyond death. He seized death by the throat and defeated it. Forget cryonics!"
What convicts me is this: how can I say that "Jesus is Lord" but not believe that Jesus is also smart? What teacher do I need besides Jesus who fully embodied God in his mortal flesh?
I am convicted that so often I find myself being a Beth Moore disciple, a Steven Covey disciple, a Tony Campolo disciple (insert any name of any teacher--big name or not, Christian or not). All of these people are wonderful teachers whom God has blessed with great talents. Yet I am convicted that Jesus, the smartest man ever, should always be my first and primary teacher. I need to be a disciple--radical follower--of Christ and Christ only. When Jesus is truly my Rabboni, then the truths spoken by other "lesser" teachers more fully enrich what Jesus teaches me.
Not long ago, I was impacted by the image of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb as told by John. When Mary recognized Jesus, "she turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, 'Rabboni!' (which means 'Teacher'). Jesus said, 'Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father...'" (John 20:16-17).
Did you catch that? Did you catch the intimacy between Mary and her Jesus, her "Rabboni"? Mary's first response to this Jesus who she loved, this tender-hearted Jesus who had loved her in her lowest moment, was to reach out to embrace him. She knew Jesus intimately. That is the Teacher I desire. I desire to know Jesus as Mary knew him. Not as Messiah, Christ, Lamb of God, Lord of Lords--though he certainly is all those things. But as Jesus, my Rabboni, who is intimately known by me and I am intimately known by him. My perfect, most intelligent, teacher.