Search This Blog

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Was Jesus Omniscient?


Icon of the Second Council of Nicaea

Dr. Alice C. Linsley

The question of whether or not Jesus was omniscient is far above my paygrade. The Son of God becoming incarnate is a singular event and a great mystery. Far greater minds than mine have struggled to understand this at the early Ecumenical Councils and they concluded that Christ has two natures: fully human and fully divine, and that the two natures are neither mixed, nor separable. In other words, one nature does not overthrow the other. The two natures exist in perfect harmony in the God-Man Jesus Christ.

Jesus knew his destiny because he knew the expectation of his Hebrew ancestors concerning the Son of God: how he would be conceived by divine overshadowing (Luke 1:35); show his authority over wind and water, die, and rise on the third day. He predicts his death in Jerusalem. He draws on the story of Jonah being 3 days in the whale’s belly to speak of his third-day resurrection. He repeatedly called out the Jewish elite for obfuscating this Messianic Faith of their ancestors. They made it about politics. Jesus’ message was about our need for repentance and glorifying his Father in Heaven.

The Gospels often speak of Jesus knowing the thoughts of his enemies. Matthew 12:25 is an example: "And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said unto them..." Did Jesus read their minds? That appears to overthrow what is within the realm of possibility for a fully human person. Rather, it means that Jesus knows the ways and manners of sinners and God-mockers. That fits the context of His dispute with the Pharisees in Matthew 12. This is not an example of omniscience, but proof that He knows the evil that resides in our hearts. 

It seems to me that the term “omniscient” may not be the best term to use in reference to Jesus Christ. It suggests the Greek philosophical attributes for the Godhead and is foreign to the Semitic way of thinking about God.

Omniscience means that Jesus was never surprised or disappointed, nor would He wonder about things. Jesus knew Judas would betray him, but that knowledge must have brought Him disappointment and sadness. In some instances, Jesus showed surprise or astonishment at the faith of Gentiles who approached him. Consider the stories of the Centurion (Matt. 8:10; Mark 6:6) and the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:24-30). Our Lord condescended to the level of understanding of others out of love and compassion. This is what a good teacher does to increase the student’s understanding.

Jesus recognized that He is the subject of the Isaiah passage: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” 

He declared this in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:17-21).

No comments:

Post a Comment