By Contributor Dr. Karin Heller
After our discussion today I’m still stuck on the fact that Jesus was man first. Since he’s God, I get the picture that he was all-knowing, even at birth, and knew that he was God from the start. Did he became man because he wanted to feel like a person and experience temptations like we do and be like us to see what we go through? Why would he want to? Did he not always know his fate and his impact on the world, even at birth? I can’t seem to wrap my head around this.
Thank you, professor.
Thank you for your great question. Like many Christians, you struggle with the two natures of Jesus Christ. Jesus became truly human, which means that he was not all-knowing from his birth to his resurrection. The Gospel of Luke states, “Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature and in favor with God and men.” Jesus had to grow in wisdom! He did not know everything from the beginning and didn’t know the impact he would make on the world. Jesus studied the Scriptures. God spoke to him through the Scriptures (just as God speaks to you and me through the Scriptures) and through Scriptures Jesus learned about who he was!
If he knew about everything beforehand there would be no need for Jesus to go to John the Baptist, be baptized and receive through baptism the confirmation that he is the beloved Son of God! As a human being, Jesus had to believe that he is the son of God. Jesus also experienced rejection. He was not always successful when he preached and healed. He tried out different ministry styles. This means that it was not always crystal clear to him how to carry on his mission. In the Gospel of Luke we see he started his ministry without any help, then he associated disciples to his ministry. Jesus had to believe God, his father, and he had to pray to God, just like of all other human beings.
Your image of Jesus has to come down to earth, otherwise you put your faith in a Jesus of your dreams and not the real Jesus. This will heavily affect your faith. Your faith will not be faith in Jesus, but in your image of Jesus! Jesus shared in the human condition to the very end, which meant a death sentence, even though he was totally innocent. In this way even the most unfortunate of the human beings can say, “What I go through, Jesus went it through, too.” Such an experience can lead a human being to develop sentiments of gratitude and love for Jesus. We are called to stop believing in Jesus the same way we believe in Santa Claus! All false gods or Santa Claus figures pretend to act in man’s favor in a supernatural way. Only the true God who is the living one, acts in our favor in a complete, human way! That’s how we can distinguish the true God from all the false gods. The false gods would never save us in a human way.