When do you suppose it was that Jesus knew He was God. Huh? What a question. One that I have no business asking, I suppose, for even as I begin chasing the thought, I know I am incapable of coming close to a definitive answer.
My mind causes me grief; it is just bright enough to cast about and snag a stimulating thought or two, but at the same time, is of such elfin proportions that the development and settling of the proposition often escapes me. I fear this question definitely will settle into the category of “impossible questions.” Yet I ask:
When did Jesus know He was God? Did He know as He lay in Bethlehem’s manger–or think about this–did He (the baby, the manchild) know in utero who He was? Was He born with the understanding, did it gradually come to Him, or was it a sudden revelation? My thoughts on this were stimulated by reading today from Alexander Whyte’s work Our Lord’s Characters. He writes thus:
“Being the first-born son in His mother’s house, it would fall to the Holy Child Jesus to perform the part laid down for the first-born son in the feast of unleavened bread. And thus it was that after Joseph had struck the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that was in the basin, and after the whole family had hurriedly eaten such a portion of the pascal lamb, and a piece of the unleavened bread, at that appointed moment the eldest son of the house came forward and said, Father what mean you by this service? What mean you by the blood, and the unleavened bread, and the bitter herbs? And Joseph would say, It is the LORD’s passover, because He passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians and delivered our houses. And Joseph, and Mary, and Jesus, and James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas, and their sisters, all bowed their heads and sang the Hundred and Thirteenth and the Hundred and Fourteenth Psalms. And once every year till the Holy Child came to the full stature of the Christ of God: every returning passover He entered deeper and deeper into this great ordinance, both hearing Joseph and asking him questions. Till He came to be of more understanding about the feast of unleavened bread than all His teachers: and understood both the blood, and the bread, and the bitter herbs, far better than all the ancients.”
As I read these words in the early-morning quiet of my motor home, I was struck by this scene. My mind and soul began boiling as I considered the question I earlier posed to you: When did Jesus know He was God?
It’s a difficult question, for understand this: Jesus was fully God, yet He was fully man.
As God, He would know He was God; as man (a tiny baby) He could not.
As man, Jesus grew hungry; as God He took little fishes and bread pieces into His hands, multiplied them, and fed thousands.
As man, He wearied; as God He rose from his sleeping place on the slamming boat, stepped up and ordered the elements of nature into peace and stillness. The lashing rain ceased, thunder rolled no more, lightening faded into the inky night, and stars struck their brilliant light.
As a man, Jesus wept; as God He said, “Lazarus, come forth!”
When, then, did Jesus know He was God?”
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