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.
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).
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
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.