December 5, 2020
But Jesus knew their thoughts (Matthew 12:25).
Sometimes you can almost know what a person is thinking by observing their body language. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made his celebrated detective Sherlock Holmes almost omniscient through his powers of observation and deduction. But Jesus Christ was, and is omniscient.
Among the many attributes of the Godhead, there are three ‘omnies’ that are familiar in Christian theology: God is omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (present everywhere), and omniscient (knowing all things). These Latin words describe attributes of God that lie beyond human ability. Did Jesus possess these attributes when He walked among us? Yes.
The Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451) summarized the biblical teaching on the person of Christ. It concluded that in the person of Jesus Christ the divine nature of God and the human nature of man are perfectly united “without confusion, separation, mixture, or division.” These two natures retain their own peculiar attributes. The divine nature remains omniscient, for example, but the human nature is still subject to limitations in knowledge. The statement in Matthew 12;25 is an example of His divine nature. His statement of ignorance in Matthew 24:36 is an example of our Lord’s human nature. His human mind did not know the timing of His return, but His divine mind surely did.
In His incarnation, Christ set aside certain attributes of divinity in order to become the servant of God in the flesh (Philippians 2:7), but He did not set aside His deity. His omniscience is clearly seen in the New Testament writings. On earth, Jesus’ omniscience is clearly seen. He knew the thoughts of his audience (Matthew 9:4; 12:25; Mark 2:6-8; Luke 6:8). He knew about people’s lives before He had met them. When He met the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well at Sychar, He said to her, You have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband (John 4:18). He also tells His disciples that their friend Lazarus was dead, although He was over 25 miles away from Lazarus’s home (John 11:11-15). He advised the disciples to go and make preparation for their final Passover, describing the person they were to meet and follow (Mark 14:13-15). He knew Nathanael before ever meeting him (John 1:47-48).
While some think the omniscience of Jesus Christ to be a terrible thing, I am humbled and appreciative of it, for He knows all things pertaining to my life. He understands and assists me without my having to inform Him of my troubles, trials, and tribulations. He knows my weaknesses and gives me strength. He knows my discouragements and gives me encouragement. He knows my heartaches and gives me joy. He knows my victories and celebrates them with me.
“Thank You, Lord, for Your unsearchable and unlimited knowledge and wisdom. Thank You that You do not use such understanding to my detriment, but to my help and benefit. To You be all honor and praise and glory! Amen.”