Church Minister.. presenting this "idea"?

Hi everyone. We have a Eucharistic Minister in our parish, who we are very good friends with. In fact, he brings Holy Communion to an ill family member, once a week.

On more than one occasion… he has presented an “idea” that makes me uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because I don’t quite understand where he is going with it. I’m not sure.

He hasn’t come right out and said this, but has suggested it strongly. That Jesus didn’t know exactly “Who” He was, from the very beginning. That Our Lord had to “discover” over time, His identity. And he bases this opinion on the following passage:

“And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace before God and men.” (Luke 2:52)

Does anyone know what the Church teaches in regards to this question? I somehow feel, inside… that our ministers opinion isn’t quite correct. How do I respond to him… when he brings this up? Or am I completely wrong… and in need of correction, myself?

Thank you and God bless.

The Personality of Jesus Christ is something very complex and I think that no one knows it well.
I am not surprised by the Minister’s remark. It makes sense, in the sense that Jesus Christ was also a man and had to learn. Suppose that He knew everything from the beginning, what was the purpose of him going to school. It would be pretending that He did not know what is ridiculous.
Now, come to man, to make a comparison.
Do you have conscience that you have a Soul? Do you have conscience that you are son of God? That you have Grace in you? That you have heaven inside you?

I am not going to say that I do know how Jesus was, but it makes sense that He was weak, fragile, had to learn how to walk, had to learn how to talk, how to write. As St. Paul puts is, He was exactly like us (my God, though He was God !!!), except on sin.

Jesus Christ took on the mantle of flesh as a human being. He experienced all the growing pains and learning as a human. He felt the same emotions and temptations that we feel. He overcame everything and never failed His Father.

  Jesus Christ is a Divine Person who always was and always will be.  As such He knew all of history and the future being like a  River at the Begining and the End, the Alpha & Omega,  at once.  God created time but exists outside of time.

  I would not dwell on your minister friend's ideas.  It makes me uneasy also.  There is a sense of some danger hidden.  I am opposed to your friend's interpretation.   Christ lived, grew, and died as a human being  but when He rose from the dead He was Glorified.  Christ is beyond our understanding.

  Quite simply,  Jesus Christ  does not "learn" to know anything at all.  He is the source of everything and our existence is dependent on Him.  He is not dependent on us.

 I  don't pretend to know what God's Nature is.  I just know that your friend's notion may have approached some reality when Christ was growing up as a man, a human.  He subjected Himself to the human condition and did not cheat suffering in any way.  Christ like all of us learned in increments. But now Christ never learns anything.  He is the Source of Creation.

We humans don't understand infinite qualities very well.   We only know a shadow of what God is  or even ourselfs.  We lost so much in the Fall, and this can only be restored when we met Jesus Christ after we shed our human bodies in death and go to Judgement.


I’ll come right out and say it: Jesus didn’t always know Who He was. If there is Church teaching on this, I don’t know it, but He was true man, is Church dogma. Babies are born babies, they don’t even know they exist, or that we do, or much else. Jesus was true man, He was born an infant just as all are. Or else He wouldn’t have been a true man.

One of the reasons Mary was full of Grace, knowing God’s will and living in it, is to perfectly parent and protect this child who had to be helpless and without knowledge for so long.

Anne Rice of Vampire books fame, who had been famously atheist and reconverted to Catholicism, started writing the life of Christ as a series of books under the umbrella title “Christ the Lord.” She got as far as the wedding at Cana when she left the Church again over the pedophilia scandals, but those first two books are quite good in that they give an interesting depiction of Jewish life at the time and an imaginative and first person narrative (Jesus point of view) of discovering His identity.

While I do not have a source to quote, I believe that the Church’s position is Jesus had full knowledge of who he was all along.
To be truthful I have struggled with this myself. As I have read Scripture, I tend to see more of a “growth” in understanding also…I once held a position very similar to your friend’s.
The passage where Jesus comes to be baptized and then goes out into the desert “to be tempted” are difficult to reconcile If He had a complete awareness of his divinity…

However, since that view seems to conflict with the Church’s position on the matter, I have left that position drop and simply allow it to be a detail of no real import.
And in truth it is just a detail…I have enough to do just trying to live a Good Christian Life in Love, without trying to figure out the details or when where how and why God chose to do what He did…:smiley:


This has come up in some groups I have participated. From a purely logical point, we are taught that God is eternal and Christ is all God, though he became man he was no less God. How then can any piece of eternity not know that it is eternal at any time?

Saint John the Baptist was supposed to know while in the womb, yet He didn’t?

As for the Bible quote, I have read and heard many explanations but have no actual source at this time.

A very reverent and long-serving priest I know used this analogy to explain how the person Jesus could possess infinite knowledge by virtue of His Divine nature, yet be still fully human. He said that His divine knowledge was like us having a tv set in the corner of the room. Just as we wouldn’t know what programme was showing until we switched it on, so Jesus chose not to access His Divine knowledge.

Does that help?

  Yes,  it says very plainly.  Priests can say difficult things in a few words.  Remember  that Adam, the first Adam, fell and Jesus restored the most important thing related to the Fall,  Salvation, Victory over Death.


I don’t know if this entirely answers your question, but read the Catechism of the Catholic Church sections 470-474 (472 even includes the quote from Luke 2:52).

Actually, yes… it does help! Thank you! The words of your priest, clearly illustrate an internal instinct, that many of us here, seem to have. I’m very grateful for you, sharing this with us.

I will re-read this, until I fully memorize what you have written… and present it to our friend, the next time this comes up. And see how he responds. This may well be a “slant” that he has never heard, either. And may be very helpful to him.

God bless you all and thanks for your responses. :slight_smile:

  1. Unless you mean that he is a bishop or priest, he is not a “eucharistic minister.” He is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. The only “eucharistic ministers” are priests and bishops as they are the only people who are authorized to confect the Eucharist. The lay people who assist in the distribution of Holy Communion are Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (bishops, priests and deacons being the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion).

  2. The fact that he is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion does not give him any teaching authority. All he is a dispenser of Holy Communion. He is the liturgical equivalent of a waiter. His opinions are just that…his opinions. The same as your opinions. He has no teaching authority.


You are correct.

From the Catechism

Christ’s soul and his human knowledge

471 Apollinarius of Laodicaea asserted that in Christ the divine Word had replaced the soul or spirit. Against this error the Church confessed that the eternal Son also assumed a rational, human soul.100

472 This human soul that the Son of God assumed is endowed with a true human knowledge. As such, this knowledge could not in itself be unlimited: it was exercised in the historical conditions of his existence in space and time. This is why the Son of God could, when he became man, “increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man”,101 and would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience.102 This corresponded to the reality of his voluntary emptying of himself, taking “the form of a slave”.103

473 But at the same time, this truly human knowledge of God’s Son expressed the divine life of his person.104 "The human nature of God’s Son, not by itself but by its union with the Word, knew and showed forth in itself everything that pertains to God."105 Such is first of all the case with the intimate and immediate knowledge that the Son of God made man has of his Father.106 The Son in his human knowledge also showed the divine penetration he had into the secret thoughts of human hearts.107

474 By its union to the divine wisdom in the person of the Word incarnate, Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal.108 What he admitted to not knowing in this area, he elsewhere declared himself not sent to reveal.109

Christ’s human will

Luke 2

49 And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?"QUOTE]
Why don’t you ask him about this scripture. If Jesus did not know who He was, why did He stay behind? Why did He say He had to be in His Father’s house as He must have acknowledged Joseph as His foster father.

Luke says He was 12. Some believe that this might have been similiar to a Bar Mitzvah. It is my belief and stated in the Catechism that Jesus always knew who He was. There are some that believe that Jesus came to recognise that He was God only gradually. One sermon I heard had this happen at the Transfiguration. I think it is very hard to understand the two natures of Jesus.

I read the CCC paras on this and I didn’t see anywhere it says that. It says He was truly human in a truly human life. If “He always knew who He was” then He would have been born completely different from every other human baby which would make Him not truly human at all.

Well ok then.

  1. I actually am an ordinary minister of Holy Communion and by virtue of my ordination, I have authority to teach.

2 Don’t be too concerned with your friend’s view on this point in that it is not an invalid position.

  1. The official Church position on this issue is that “we don’t know”.

  2. The question of when Jesus became fully conscious of his divine nature is a matter for speculative theology and remains to this day a hotly debated issue among Catholic Theologians.

  3. Your friend’s viewpoint was recently adopted and expounded upon by Father Raymond Brown (the editor of the New Jerome Biblical Commentary) and by noted Catholic theologian Karl Rahner.

As to whether Jesus knew who He was, we find Fr. Brown inclined to prefer the opinion that Jesus had “some sort of intuition or immediate awareness of what he was, but…that the ability to express this in a communicable way had to be acquired gradually.” R. E. Brown, *Jesus, God and Man, *Macmillan, N.Y. 1967. 101. To put Father Brown’s view simply: Jesus knew in some vague way who He was but somehow could not manage to say it!

Karl Rahner also holds that the self knowledge of Jesus paralleled that of ordinary humans. “We do not know our own soul directly; we get to know it indirectly by observing its actions. To express that information is, of course, something additional.” K. Rahner, “Dogmatic Reflections on the Knowledge and Self-Consciousness of Christ” in *Theological lnvestigations, *tr. K. H. Kruger, Helicon, Baltimore, 1966, 5,193-215.

We are free to disagree with this viewpoint, and neither Brown nor Rahner are frankly my cup of tea, but your friend, the guy with no teaching authority, is in pretty good company.:wink:

474 By its union to the divine wisdom in the person of the Word incarnate, Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal.108 What he admitted to not knowing in this area, he elsewhere declared himself not sent to reveal.109

It must be a matter of definition. Jesus is different than all other human babies, He is God. I do not believe that when He became incarnate, He stopped being God:nope:

No, He certainly never stopped being God. But He did become fully human. We are interpreting this differently:

474 By its union to the divine wisdom in the person of the Word incarnate, Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal.108 What he admitted to not knowing in this area, he elsewhere declared himself not sent to reveal.109

In order to grow up with a fully human experience, it can certainly be that God hides from His human self the fullness of Universal knowledge of His Godhood. Otherwise He would be born talking like a fully grown person.

So, to be truly human, He can only have “human knowledge” as it says in the CCC, but, with “fullness of understanding” of the eternal plan. Jesus as an adult, at some point, possibly at Baptism, becomes able to access Divine understanding as to His mission.

But, to me, this does not say Jesus Incarnate knew of the existence of South America, which no one of His culture and time did. BUT - having said that - I also think if it were vital to His Mission, He would have known it. That is: it isn’t that He wasn’t able to know, but that He chose to be limited in some ways, as we are.

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