Answers 08 – If Jesus Is God, Why Didn’t He Know Everything God Knew? – David Hibbert.
In this series called “Answers”, my goal is to help you, by sharing with you short, Biblical answers to questions that people have been asking me.
Today’s question: If Jesus is God, why didn’t Jesus know everything God knew?
While Jesus was on the earth, He seemed to suggest that He didn’t know everything that God the Father knew. The best verse to demonstrate this, is in the Gospel of Matthew.
Matthew 24:36, NIV – (36) “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
The disciples had asked Jesus about the end of the age. They asked Him,
Matthew 24:3, NIV – (3) … “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus described a number of events that would occur in those days, but then He said that He didn’t know when they would happen – only the Father knew. But if Jesus was God, why wouldn’t He know?
In order to answer that question, we need to understand the difference between Jesus as man, and Jesus as God.
- Jesus As Man
The man Jesus, or the human Jesus, had a beginning. There was NO Jesus, before He was born in Mary’s womb.
John 1:1-2, NIV – (1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was with God in the beginning.
So in the beginning was God the Father, God the Word, and God the Holy Spirit. There was no Jesus – only God the Word.
Then, one day, God the Word came into human flesh.
John 1:14, NIV – (14) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
God the Word came to earth in the body of Jesus the man. And that’s why Jesus was called the “only begotten Son” of God.
Actually, the Muslims use this as an argument against Jesus being God. They say that if Jesus is begotten, He cannot be God. But the simple response is that Jesus the man was begotten, but God the Word, who came in Jesus, was not begotten.
As a result, Jesus the man had to develop as any baby and child and young man needs to develop.
Luke 2:52, NIV – (52) And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Jesus the man, as any baby, had to become self-aware, and grow in wisdom. God has always had all wisdom, but Jesus the man had to grow in wisdom. And so it is very likely, that at one time in His life, Jesus didn’t even know that he was God.
But by the time Jesus was 12 years old, He did know, and He began to spend time in His Father’s House – the temple.
Luke 2:49, NIV – (49) “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
- Jesus As God.
Now, since God the Word was in Jesus the man, why didn’t Jesus the man know what God the Word knew?
Philippians 2:5-7, NIV – (5) Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, (7) but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
That phrase “made Himself nothing” (Strong’s G2758 = κενόω [kenoō]) literally means “to make empty” or “to neutralize”. Theologians called this the “kenosis”.
So even though God the Word was in Jesus the man, God the Word emptied Himself or neutralized Himself or “self-limited” Himself, so that during His time on earth, He lived as a man and not as God. And so, in His self-limitation, He did not know everything that God the Father knew.
So, Jesus the man, while on this earth, did not know everything that God the Word knew. Instead, He only knew what God revealed to Him.
That’s why Jesus the man said,
John 12:49, NIV – (49) For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.
Everything that Jesus the man knew and said, He received by revelation from the Father. But you can be sure, that now that Jesus has gone into heaven, He is fully aware of everything that the Father knows.