Did Jesus Know Everything?

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Jesus Mocked by the Soldiers
Artist: Edouard Manet

The Gospels present us with a rather serious theological challenge. If Jesus is divine as well as human, isn’t it reasonable to expect him to know everything? If the Son of God ’emptied himself’ (Phil.2:7) to take on human flesh, does this mean he gave up his omniscience?

At times the Gospels tell us that Jesus knew people’s thoughts (Matt.12:25, Luke 5:22, Luke 6:8), but we also see occasions when Jesus’ seems to have limited knowledge. As a child, He “increased in wisdom and stature” like any other human (Luke 2:52). This alone implies he acquired great wisdom in the Scriptures through study, not through divine osmosis. Throughout the Gospels Jesus tries to find privacy, but is unable to do so (Mark 7:24). Isn’t Jesus supposed to know everything before it happens?

When in the midst of a crowd a sick person touches His clothing, He expresses curiosity as to who she is (Luke 8:45). Jesus explicitly denies any knowledge of the time of the Last Day (Mark 13:32). This verse has always been especially difficult to understand. If Jesus was God, how could He be ignorant of the time of His second coming?

This is the mystery of the divine/human nature of Christ. In the Gospels, we see frequent evidences of His humanity (He grew weary, suffered pain), but also many evidences of deity (His virgin birth, His resurrection and ascension, as well as His perfect words and deeds). Still, shouldn’t Jesus of Nazareth have known all of the answers?

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About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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4 Responses to Did Jesus Know Everything?

  1. Janice says:

    This is a tough topic. I think Jesus was emptied of his divinity when he came to the World in human form but he was able to perform miracles so God did give him some power. He knew the Old Testament scriptures and had a brillant mind so he probably figured his destinity out. He also was in close contact with God in prayer and this was key in his gaining wisdom. I can understand that Jesus would not know the end time until he was God again in heaven. I also believe that this is one of those topics that we will never really understand until we get to heaven. I am anxious to read other blogs on this one.

  2. Janice says:

    No, I am not blogging at 2:58 am. It is 11:00 pm and bed time. 🙂

  3. Carol Childers says:

    Wadin’ in.
    Jesus surely knew he was the Son of God, the Messiah, at the beginning of His life. His life began before time began. Yes, he increased in wisdom studying the scriptures, but even the rabbis were astonished at His wisdom.
    He knew that power (KJ says “virtue”) had gone out of Him in the crowd. He surely knew exactly who the woman was. He asked, “Who touched me?” He did not say, “I don’t know who touched me.” I believe He wanted this woman to testify to Him of her faith for the benefit of all those others in the crowd. I also believe that He knew when anyone brushed against Him in all the crowds and He knew who truly believed in Him and who did not.
    Is it not enough to know that Jesus trusted His Father to know the time of the end? He was in effect saying that all time, forever, is in the hands of The One who ordained it. It would seem to me that AT THIS TIME when Jesus was speaking to His disciples that Jesus could say that only His Father God knew the time of the end. NOW that Jesus sits at His right hand, He awaits His father’s command to stand and receive His kingdom. So, does He know the time? Yes. He is merely waiting.
    Throughout the Gospels we see that Jesus did not choose to reveal all He knew to His disciples. But He revealed enough.
    My commentary states that Mark added the words “neither the Son” to Mark 13:32 (cf Matt.24:36). “Mark presents Jesus as the ‘the servant, and the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth.’ The servant character of Jesus represents His most typical and true humanity.”

  4. Janice says:

    Digging a little deeper Jesus became like us in all things except sin. Thus low, of his own will, he stooped from the glory he had with the Father before the world was. Christ’s two states, of humiliation and exaltation, are noticed. Christ not only took upon him the likeness and fashion, or form of a man, but of one in a low state; not appearing in splendour. His whole life
    was a life of poverty and suffering. But the lowest step was his dying the death of the cross.
    It sounds to me now that Jesus was still divine, but as only he could do, layed aside his glory and submitted to the humiliation of becoming a man.

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