Wednesday, June 06, 2007

When did Jesus know He was God - and other musings???

I love to ask questions - in life and especially in Bible Study. I'm not bright enough to ask profound questions very often. I read a book by N. T. Wright about 7 years ago and he asked more profound questions in a few minutes than I have in my life. 2 Questions really stuck out to me (though they were hardly the focus of the book). When did Jesus realize He was God? When did Jesus realize He had to die on a cross?

I grew up thinking Jesus always knew that stuff - even in the manger (no crying He makes - yeah right) - I thought he sat there, looking up at His mom, and realized He had to die on the cross. I don't believe that is correct at all.

I don't have a great answer to either of those two questions. I do have a few thoughts from my devotions this morning.

In Luke 17:18-20 - John the Baptist's disciples ask Jesus a question from John - "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?"

John and Jesus must have known about each other - and likely spent time together. Yet, John did not know Jesus was God. In my simply mind, this is evidence that makes it likely that Jesus did not know He was God for quite some time.

I really think that many of the questions Jesus asked in the Temple when He was 12 (Luke 2:39-52) had to do with questions regarding the Messiah - and the Messiah as a suffering servant, rather than the King who was going to overthrow the Romans and set up His Kingdom. I'm sure He asked many questions, but questions related to who the Messiah was were probably a focus.

I could be way off. I assume other, much smarter men, have pondered and even answered these kinds of questions.

What do you think about any of this?


At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that in Luke, Jesus seemed to know that he was God at twelve at the least.

49"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"

In all four Gospels, it seems like he received some kind of profound confirmation of this knowledge at the baptism, when he:

"Saw the spirit descending on him like a dove, and a voice came from heaven, 'this is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.'"

In Matthew 12, this event is referred to specifically as the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy in Isaiah 42:

"Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him
and he will bring justice to the nations. "

Matthew changes 'whom I uphold' to 'whom I have chosen.' What is so fascinating to me here is that verb "will." As in, "I have not yet, but at some future point I will."

Which means that until his baptism, God had not yet put his Spirit upon Jesus? That in some profoundly real way, Jesus had not yet received the fullness of God?

What does THAT mean????

The John the Baptist passage in which he asks Jesus 'are you the one who is to come?" is a fascinating one, because obviously John knew. He was present at the baptism, he was the 'voice of one in the desert preparing the way.'

It was John who publicly declared Jesus the Messiah at the baptism of Jesus and the descent of the Spirit upon him.

In John 1, John claims that he himself saw the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus.

It was John in John 3 who reiterated this to the slower among his own disciples.

So John knew. But John was in prison. John is asking something very specific, in a very Jewish way. He's not just asking Jesus, "are you the Messiah." He's asking, very deliberately, "Are you the one who is to come?"

I've heard it said that this is a reference to Isaiah 11, and that this passage was the reason that one of the names for the Messiah was 'the coming one'.

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD -
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

The idea here is that John is asking Jesus when the justice will be happening. Hey, I saw the Spirit of the Lord rest on you! When is the justice? When am I getting out of prison?

Jesus responds with a series of Isiah references:

4Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."

In fact, it starts with another reference to Isaiah 42.

6 "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

The blind receive sight. And the prisoners are released.

and Isaiah 61

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

The good news is preached to the poor. And the prisoners are released.

What is Jesus telling John? Perhaps he is saying, "yes, you can trust that the prophecy is fulfilled in me. But you're not going to be freed from prison. Not the prisoners. Not yet. Don't fall away on account of me."

-Andrew M.


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