By inspiration of the Spirit, the Gospel Writers focused on truths most helpful for proving Jesus was the Messiah. They didn’t even share all truths they could’ve (John 21:25), but they focused on their priorities. More details about Jesus growing up, his family, personality, or young adult years, were all left out. There’s enough, though, to get a pattern in his displayed Divinity versus his human limitations. Would analyzing this inspire and stimulate us more?
“The Scriptures plainly affirm that Jesus…knows all things as God…doesn’t know all things as man,” is a quote from “Jesus is Fully Human.” Adding to what’s in that article, there’s another reason Jesus, as a human, didn’t know everything like the Father always did. The Father knows not only every individual that ever lived with mind-boggling intimacy (Psalm 139), but he tracks the numbers of hair on each head at every given moment (Luke 12:7). He even knows the number and names of each star (Psalms 147:4). It’s not possible for a human mind to take all this in. Yet Jesus, as God, chose not to know anything at his birth (see Part 1).
During his ministry, it’s debatable if Jesus always knew most of what there was to know about each person he met. But he did seem to know what Nicodemus was after (John 3:2-21), some about Nathanael (John 1:45-51), the Samaritan woman (John 4:4-42), and what was really troubling the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23). He knew that the poor widow was giving her all (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4), what Zacchaeus really wanted (Luke 19:2-10), and what Judas Iscariot was up to (Matthew 26:21-25, Luke 22:21-23, John 18:1-5). He also knew the future and people’s thoughts in many other situations.*
In fact, I found only one recorded thing that Jesus clearly didn’t know: when Jesus would return (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32).
HOW CAN CHRIST’S EXAMPLE INSPIRE AND STIMULATE US?
Jesus was above all a servant. He took the lead, but first, he knew how to be teachable. Consider again when he was a 12-year-old.
He was speaking to the same unteachable men he confronted later as an adult in Jerusalem. Why would they be impressed when he was 12, yet insist he is crucified later? Jesus confronted their sin as an adult, and we never receive our sin confrontations well, unless God gives repentance (cp. 2 Timothy 2:25). But as a 12-year-old Jesus was also asking rather than just answering questions. He first showed himself to be teachable before showing himself to be wise.
How often would our own ideas be received better if we listened and learned before trying to teach? Would we surrender more if we focused on what Jesus gave up by becoming human? Would our arguments be reduced in frequency, and regulated better, if we became more Christ-like? It takes two to argue, so I’m not ignoring what the other person does. Nor do I want to brush off the occasional causes for which we must fight because they’re too critical to easily let go. But consider how Jesus would’ve handled such situations. If the listeners were unteachable, wouldn’t he usually just bow out?
He didn’t ram truth down anyone’s throat in persistent arguing. If they hardened their hearts, he’d afterwards speak in parables (cp. Matthew 13:10-13; Mark 4:10-12 & Luke 8:9-10). When he confronted the Pharisees publicly, wasn’t that equally for the crowds? To not only give the Pharisees a chance to repent, but also to correct the damage they did, misleading others from what’s right?
We teach by our examples, and not just by our words. Consider Proverbs 23:9 and 27:22, and put them in balance with 26:4-5. Learn how to present truths so they’re easier for the listener to accept by asking questions that make the listener(s) think, like Jesus did. Work to attain the wisdom Jesus consistently showed, even as a 12-year-old.
*Matthew 9:4-6; 12:25; 21:1-3; 24:3-35; 26:30-34, 45-46; Mark 2:5-11; 3:1-6; 8:14-21; 9:1, 30-31, 33-37; 11:1-6; 13:1-31; 14:12-30, 41-43; Luke 5:4-10, 18-24, 34-35; 6:6-11; 8:41-55; 11:14-17; 18:31-33; 19:29-34, 43-44; 21:1-34; 22:8-13, 15-16, 31-34, 60-62; 23:28-31, 43; 24:48-49; John 1:41-42; 2:18-21, 24-25; 6:26, 60-65, 70-71; 7:15-16, 25-28, cf. 32, 33; 9:1-7; 11:23, 47-54; 13:1-3, 21-30, 33, 36-38; 14:3, 18-19, 25-26; 16:1-33
The above picture was scanned from Jesus and His Times, by Reader’s Digest