When did Jesus know who he was? Did he know from the time he had self knowledge that he would be torn to shreds and crucified? Did God the Father protect him from this until he started his ministry? I am having a hard time grasping that if he was 6 years old and knowing his fate that he wouldn’t be continuously troubled. Maybe this is part of being the God-Man?? Maybe the Early Church Fathers wrote something about this subject?
There is tradition that Jesus Christ knew from the beginning, having the natures and wills of both God and Man in one person of the Son of God. We see this represented in the icon of the Theotokos of the Passion, where the angels Michael and Gabriel with the implements of the Passion, and Christ looking at this, holding onto the thumb of the Theotokos, one shoe hanging from a foot.
Pope Pius XII from Encyclical Mystici Corporis of 1943:
For hardly was He conceived in the womb of the Mother of God, when He began to enjoy the Beatific Vision, and in that vision all the members of His Mystical Body were continually and unceasingly present to Him, and He embraced them with His redeeming love.
NAB Luke 1:41-45 Elizabeth to the Virgin Mary pregnant with the Messiah:
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant [St. John the Baptist] leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.
Jesus was Divine. He knew everything right from the start. His human nature experienced life as a man.
This is a great post. I was trying to understand this very point only one week ago. The deacon at our parish gave a homily on the gospel reading that includes the Transfiguration. The deacon speculated in the homily that Jesus was discovering his role and what he had to do.
I thought this sounded a little “off.” After doing a little searching I decided that Jesus knew from the beginning what the whole plan was. He knew who he was as well.
I understand some people believe Jesus did not know this much. I am not sure but is this understanding referred to as “the historical Jesus” that Pope Benedict XVI roundly rejected in the first volume of his book titled Jesus of Nazareth?
At a church bible study last year this topic was mentioned. I was greatly surprised that over 1/2 of the 10 folks attending thought that Jesus didn’t know who he was when young. I was totally shocked! Later on a friend asked an elderly priest, who was an expert on theology, about this question and he said that it was an old heresy. Of course Jesus knew who he was because of his divine nature. …which wasn’t separate from his human nature.
“Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend
truth is to suppress it.”
Any chance you could ask what exactly this “old heresy” was that the priest was referring to? Not something that take as compelling, but I’ve heard theologians say that if he had known everything from the beginning, this would take away from His human nature, because to learn, to discover, etc. is essential to humanity. Again, not something I subscribe to, but not sure that this is a clear cut case of orthodoxy vs. heresy. Someone cite a source if I am wrong please?
In the love of Christ and Mary,
From the CCC
Christ’s soul and his human knowledge
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
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 favor 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
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
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
Thanks fms; this paragraph says it all.