Luke 2:40
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
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(40) Waxed strong in spirit.—The better MSS. omit the last two words.

Filled with wisdom.—The Greek participle implies the continuous process of “being filled,” and so conveys the thought expressed in Luke 2:52, of an increase of wisdom. The soul of Jesus was human, i.e., subject to the conditions and limitations of human knowledge, and learnt as others learn. The heresy of Apollinarius, who constructed a theory of the Incarnation on the assumption that the Divine Word (the Logos of St. John’s Gospel) took, in our Lord’s humanity, the place of the human mind or intellect, is thus, as it were, anticipated and condemned.

The grace of God was upon him.—The words seem chosen to express a different thought from that used to describe the growth of the Baptist. Here there was more than guidance, more than strength, a manifest outflowing of the divine favour in the moral beauty of a perfectly holy childhood.

On the history of the period between this and the next verses, see Excursus in the Notes on Matthew 2.

2:36-40 There was much evil then in the church, yet God left not himself without witness. Anna always dwelt in, or at least attended at, the temple. She was always in a praying spirit; gave herself to prayer, and in all things she served God. Those to whom Christ is made known, have great reason to thank the Lord. She taught others concerning him. Let the example of the venerable saints, Simeon and Anna, give courage to those whose hoary heads are, like theirs, a crown of glory, being found in the way of righteousness. The lips soon to be silent in the grave, should be showing forth the praises of the Redeemer. In all things it became Christ to be made like unto his brethren, therefore he passed through infancy and childhood as other children, yet without sin, and with manifest proofs of the Divine nature in him. By the Spirit of God all his faculties performed their offices in a manner not seen in any one else. Other children have foolishness bound in their hearts, which appears in what they say or do, but he was filled with wisdom, by the influence of the Holy Ghost; every thing he said and did, was wisely said and wisely done, above his years. Other children show the corruption of their nature; nothing but the grace of God was upon him.Strong in spirit - In mind, intellect, understanding. Jesus had a human soul, and that soul was subject to all the proper laws of a human spirit. It therefore increased in knowledge, strength, and character. Nor is it any more inconsistent with his being God to say that his soul expanded, than to say that his body grew.

Filled with wisdom - Eminent for wisdom when a child - that is, exhibiting an extraordinary understanding, and "wise" to flee from everything sinful and evil.

And the grace of God ... - The word "grace" in the New Testament commonly means unmerited favor shown "to sinners." Here it means no more than favor. God showed him favor, or was pleased with him and blessed him.

It is remarkable that this is all that is recorded of the infancy of Jesus; and this, with the short account that follows of his going to Jerusalem, is all that we know of him for thirty years of his life. The design of the evangelists was to give an account of his "public ministry," and not his private life. Hence, they say little of him in regard to his first years. What they do say, however, corresponds entirely with what we might expect. He was wise, pure, pleasing God, and deeply skilled in the knowledge of the divine law. He set a lovely example for all children; was subject to his parents, and increased in favor with God and man.

40. His mental development kept pace with His bodily, and "the grace of God," the divine favor, rested manifestly and increasingly upon Him. See Lu 2:52. This verse shortly sums up all that we have in the Gospel of the history of the first twelve years of our Saviour’s life. Though there could be no accession to the perfection of the Divine nature in Christ, yet as to his human nature he was (as we are) capable of accession of habits, and wisdom and knowledge; for though the Divine nature was personally united to the human nature, yet there was no communication of properties.

And the child grew,.... In body, in strength, and in stature; which shows that it was a true body Christ assumed, and like ours, which did not come to its maturity at once, but by degrees:

and waxed strong in spirit, or in his soul; for as he had a true body, he had also a reasonable soul; the faculties of which were far from being weak, they were exceeding strong, and appeared stronger and stronger every day; his understanding was clear, his judgment solid, and his memory strong and retentive, his will, and the desires of it, were to that which is good, and his affections cleaved unto it. The Persic and Ethiopic versions read, "was strengthened in", or "by the Holy Spirit"; with the grace and gifts of it; but the former sense is best,

Filled with wisdom; and knowledge as man; for this is to be understood, not of his essential wisdom as God, nor of those treasures of wisdom and knowledge, which were hid in him as mediator, to be dispensed to his church; but of his created and natural wisdom, as man; in which he increased gradually, as his body grew, and the faculties of his soul opened under the influences of his deity, and the power of his Spirit,

and the grace of God was upon him; which designs not the fulness of grace that was in him, as mediator, for the supply of his people: but either that internal grace which was bestowed on his human nature, even the various graces of the Spirit of God, and which flowed from the grace of union of the two natures in him; or rather the love and favour of God, which in various instances was in a very singular manner manifested to him.

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, {u} filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

(u) As Christ grew up in age, so the virtue of his Godhead showed itself more and more.

Luke 2:40. Similar to Luke 1:80, but more distinctive and more characteristic, in keeping with the human development of the Song of Solomon of God, who was to grow up to be the organ of truth and grace. Comp. Luke 2:52.

πληρούμ. σοφ.] the internal state of things accompanying the ἐκραταιοῦτο; He became a vigorous child (ἐκρατ.[58]), while at the same time He became filled, etc.

χάρις Θεοῦ] not to be taken of distinguished bodily gracefulness (Raphel, Wolf, Wetstein), but as: the favour of God, which was directed upon Him. Comp. Luke 2:52. On ἐπʼ αὐτό, comp. Acts 4:33.

[58] Cyril of Alexandria says: σωματικῶς γὰρ ηὔξανε καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο, τῶν μελῶν συναδρυνομένων τῇ αὐξήσει. Observe that in our passage πνεύματι is not added as at i. 80; the mental development follows in πληρ. σοφ.

Luke 2:40. ηὔξανε καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο, grew, and waxed strong, both in reference to the physical nature.—πνεύματι in T.R. is borrowed from Luke 1:80; a healthy, vigorous child, an important thing to note in reference to Jesus.—πληρούμενον: present participle, not = plenus, Vulg[35], full, but in course of being filled with wisdom—mind as well as body subject to the law of growth.—χάρις: a great word of St. Paul’s, also more used by Lk. than by either of the other two synoptists (vide Luke 1:30, Luke 4:22, Luke 6:32-34); here to be taken broadly = favour, good pleasure. The child Jesus dear to God, and the object of His paternal care.

[35] Vulgate (Jerome’s revision of old Latin version).

40. filled] Rather, being filled. The growth of our Lord is here described as a natural human growth. The nature of the ‘Hypostatic Union’ of His Divine and Human nature—what is called the Perichoresis or Communicatio idiomatum—is one of the subtlest and least practical of mysteries. The attempt to define and enter into it was only forced upon the Church by the speculations of Oriental heretics who vainly tried “to soar into the secrets of the Deity on the waxen wings of the senses.” This verse (and still more Luke 2:52) is a stronghold against the Apollinarian heresy which held that in Jesus the Divine Logos took the place of the human soul. Against the four conflicting heresies of Anus, Apollinarius, Nestorius and Eutyches, which respectively denied the true Godhead, the perfect manhood, the indivisible union, and the entire distinctness of the Godhead and manhood in Christ, the Church, in the four great Councils of Nice (a. d. 325), Constantinople (a. d. 381), Ephesus (a. d. 431), and Chalcedon (a. d. 451), established the four words which declare her view of the nature of Christ—alethôs, teleôs, adiairetôs, asunchutôs—‘truly’ God; ‘perfectly’ Man; ‘indivisibly’ God-Man, ‘distinctly’ God and Man. See Hooker, Eccl. Pol. v. Leviticus 10.

the grace of God was upon him] Isaiah 11:2-3. “Full of grace and truth,” John 1:14. “Take notice here that His doing nothing wonderful was itself a kind of wonder … As there was power in His actions, so is there power in His silence, in His inactivity, in His retirement.” Bonaventura. The worthless legends and inventions of many of the Apocryphal Gospels deal almost exclusively with the details of the Virginity of Mary, and the Infancy of Christ, which are passed over in the Gospels in these few words.

Luke 2:40. Ηὔξανε, grew) in body; i.e. with the growth of an infant: but in Luke 2:52 His progress [increase] as a boy is referred to, προέκοπτεν, He made progress. The former includes the period from His first to His twelfth year: the latter, from His twelfth to His thirtieth year. Even subsequently [a spiritual increase (or rather, full perfection, and fulness) is implied], in ch. Luke 4:1; Luke 4:14. The mention of phases of progress is joined with His Presentation in the temple, with His remaining in the temple on the occasion of the Passover, and with His baptism.—ἐκραταιοῦτο πνεύματι, waxed strong in spirit) as compared with John, [of whom the same thing is said, but] of whom it is not added, as here, that He was filled with wisdom; ch. Luke 1:80. Wisdom is the highest of the endowments of the soul. As to the piety of Jesus whilst still a little child, see Psalm 22:10-11; the same inference may be drawn by reasoning from the less to the greater;[31] Luke 1:15; Luke 1:44.—χάρις) the favour [grace] of God was towards Him. Afterwards He became known to men.

[31] If John the Forerunner was “filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb,” a fortiori the Lord Jesus.—ED.

Verse 40. - And the Child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. Another of this evangelist's solemn pauses in his narrative. In this short statement the story of twelve quiet years is told. From these few words St. Luke evidently understands the humanity of Jesus as a reality. The statement that "he waxed strong, filled with wisdom" (the words, "in spirit," do not occur in the older authorities), tells us that, in the teaching of SS. Paul and Luke, the Boy learnt as others learnt, subject to the ordinary growth and development of human knowledge; thus condemning, as it were, by anticipation, the strange heresy of Apollinarius, who taught that the Divine Word (the Logos) took, in our Lord's humanity, the place of the human mind or intellect. And the grace of God was upon him. The legendary apocryphal Gospels are rich in stories of the Child Jesus' doings during these many years. But the silence of the holy four, whose testimony has been received now since the last years of the first century by the whole Church, is our authority for assuming that no work of power was done, and probably that no word of teaching was spoken, until the public ministry commenced, when the Messiah had reached his thirtieth year. "Take notice here," wrote Bonaventura, quoted by Farrar, "that his doing nothing wonderful was itself a kind of wonder.... As there was power in his actions, so is there power in his silence, in his inactivity, in his retirement." Luke 2:40The child grew, etc

The Jews marked the stages of a child's development by nine different terms: the new-born babe (Isaiah 9:6); the suckling (Isaiah 11:8); the suckling beginning to ask for food (Lamentations 4:4); the weaned child (Isaiah 28:9); the child clinging to its mother (Jeremiah 44:7); the child becoming firm and strong (Isaiah 7:14, of the virgin-mother); the youth, literally, he that shakes himself free; the ripened one, or warrior (Isaiah 31:8).

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