by Fred Coulter
Jesus never participated in the Jewish religious or educational systems of the day.
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke record Jesus’ physical genealogy and verify that He was of the direct line of David, of the tribe of Judah. Although He was born of the virgin Mary and was human in every respect, it was through His divine begettal by God the Father that Jesus was the Son of God. We find no evidence in the Gospels that Jesus was educated by the rabbis in Jewish schools or synagogues, or that He was taught to observe the religion of Judaism and practice Jewish traditions. As the Son of God, it is certain that His education was unique.
In order to understand how and from Whom Jesus received His education, one needs to examine His words and teachings, as well as what He did. Christ always kept and taught the commandments of God—and never observed the traditions of Judaism. Such Jewish traditional practices are not based on the Law of God, but originated in the minds of men. Remember, as the God of the Old Testament, Jesus was the one Who had delivered the Ten Commandments in the first place.
It is a great error to assume that Jesus was brought up according to Jewish traditions or practiced the religion of Judaism. The claim that Jesus was thoroughly Jewish in habit, custom, tradition, religion and outlook is patently false. Throughout the Gospels, we find Jesus strongly denounced the traditions of the Jews. Jesus often condemned the scribes and Pharisees for rejecting the commandments of God in order to keep their own traditions. He said,
“Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?… ‘This people draw near to Me with their mouths, and with their lips they honor Me; but their hearts are far away from Me. But they worship Me in vain, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men’ ” (Matt. 15:3, 8-9).
Indeed, the Scriptures tell us that Jesus kept His Father’s commandments: “If you keep My commandments, you shall live in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and live in His love” (John 15:10). Going beyond the letter of the Law, Jesus always kept the Law in its full spiritual intent—in order to truly please the Father. “And He Who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone because I always do the things that please Him” (John 8:29).
At the age of twelve, Jesus was found in the Temple “sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them and questioning them. And all those who were listening to Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers” (Luke 2:46-47). How was it possible for Jesus to have such an extraordinary understanding of God’s Word at such a young age? First, Jesus had the Spirit of God without measure. “He Whom God has sent speaks the words of God; and God gives not the Spirit by measure unto Him” (John 3:34).
Second, the Scriptures record that Jesus was taught directly by God the Father. Once, when Jesus was teaching in the Temple, the Jews said, “How does this man know letters, having never been schooled?” (John 7:15) The phrase “having never been schooled” means that He was not taught in their rabbinical schools. Notice Jesus’ answer:
“My doctrine is not Mine, but His Who sent Me” (verse 16). Jesus was taught directly and personally by God the Father. Jesus said, “[He] Who sent Me is true, and what I have heard from Him, these things I speak to the world…. I do nothing of Myself [or of any man]. But as the Father taught Me, these things I speak” (John 8:26, 28).
Isaiah prophesied of Jesus’ education by God the Father: “The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, to know to help the weary with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to hear as one being taught. The Lord GOD has opened My ear, and I was not rebellious, nor turned away backwards.” (Isa. 50:4-5).
Jesus had direct, instant communication with God the Father at all times. As the Son of God, sent to be the Savior of mankind, Jesus had to have a perfect and complete understanding of the Father’s will. If He had failed even once to do the will of the Father, this sin would have brought Him under the death penalty, and we would have no Savior. In order to know the Father’s will in all things, Jesus had to be taught directly by God the Father. No man—no scribe, no Pharisee, no learned sage or rabbi—could have imparted this divine knowledge to Jesus.