Monday, November 12, 2012

So Jesus Didn't Know Everything?

Well, I caused some controversy in Sunday school yesterday. (I attend Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Easton, Pa.) The class was discussing Jesus' calling of the 12 disciples, specifically how He knew things about them that could only be known supernaturally. The prevailing sentiment was that Jesus knew because He's God. After all, Jesus knew us "before the foundation of the world."

I disagreed. Strongly.

Yes, Jesus was fully divine and fully human, but He "emptied Himself" (Philippians 2:5-7) to live as a man, accepting the limitations of humanity. How could it be true that "Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature" (Luke 2:52) if he exercised His divine omniscience? Knowing things supernaturally and performing miracles through the Holy Spirit is consistent with this. It was the "power of the Lord," not the power that He set aside, that was "present for Him to perform healing" (Luke 5:17).

Jesus lived a Spirit-filled life. He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matt. 4:1). He "returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit" (Luke 10:14) and quoted the prophecy stating that "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me" (Luke 10:18). He "rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit" (Luke 10:21). God "anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power" (Acts 10:38). He gave instructions to His disciples through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:1-2).

It was through learning, not omniscience, that Jesus realized John the Baptist had been taken into custody, which led Him on a particular course (Matt. 4:12). He marveled at the centurion's faith (Matt. 8:10). While sometimes He asked questions as a rhetorical device, at other times He posed them to gain information. For example, when the woman who had suffered a hemorrhage for 12 years touched His garment, He asked who touched him and looked to see (Mark 5:30-32). He asked a father how long his demon-possessed son had been exhibiting such behavior (Mark 9:21). Also, He said that He did not know the day and hour when heaven and earth will pass away (Matt. 24:35-36). And He wouldn't have needed to be led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit if He were acting in omniscience.

Jesus also did incredible miracles through the Holy Spirit while maintaining the vulnerability of having emptied Himself of His omnipotence. When He fasted, He became hungry (Matt. 4:2). After being tempted by Satan, he needed angels to minister to Him (Matt. 4:11). He needed an angel to strengthen Him in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43). He experienced agony (Luke 22:44).

If we understand that Jesus emptied Himself and was empowered by the Holy Spirit, we appreciate how He humbled himself and accepted the limitations of humanity in His incarnation. We also gain a sense of the power available to us.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Keeping the Past from Disappearing

Lack of time and atrophied writing skills have discouraged me from starting a blog. But this seems like a good way to record some thoughts and experiences before they disappear from memory. I have no illusions of attracting a significant number of readers; that's not the point. This is a place to prevent too much of the past from disappearing, and perhaps to share a little bit of my life with a few people.

I was surprised to find so many possible website addresses for the blog already taken. I was even more struck by how many of these blogs had one only post or none at all. I mean, if you're going to take up a good blog web address, at least use it, right?

But to be honest, I wrote the above two paragraphs on January 10 and just took this up again today. So, yeah, I've been one of those non-writers. Ironically, as part of my job at Lafayette College, I oversee a student blogging website, and I'm always reminding my students to write because it's been too long since their last post. Let's hope none of them stumble across this!

How does anyone find the time to write a personal blog anyway? Between work, family, church/volunteering, a little bit of exercise and a little bit of TV to relax, I don't get enough sleep (like most everyone), much less have time for a blog. But let's see if I can manage my time better and write here from time to time.

A little background: I'm 41, married to the most beautiful woman on earth, Janine, and have a 10-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son. We live in the College Hill neighborhood of Easton, Pa., where Janine and I graduated from Lafayette College.

Janine works part-time advising the international students at Lafayette and enjoys cooking, Japanese culture, Disney World, and the TV show Lie to Me, among many other interests. She loves her work with the students and does so much to make their lives better.

Isabelle began at Easton Middle School and loves reading, anime, and spending time on the computer, where's she's started and abandoned three blogs herself (guess you know where she gets it from).

Oliver is in first grade and began playing soccer on a team this fall after playing baseball in the spring. He loves playfighting with me and our dachshund, Rupert.

This year I joined the elder board and the missions committee of the church I've attended since 1993, Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Easton. I started and led a two-church ministry to a Burmese refugee family for its first 14 months in the United States, after which they moved. I enjoy playing basketball, reading comic books, and watching superhero cartoons with Oliver. I work at Lafayette as associate director of website and video content. Previously, I worked at a newspaper company and then a magazine company in writing and editing capacities.

Thanks for reading my first blog post. I'm sure you're in select company.