As Jesus approached the end of His earthly ministry, His disciples were starting to get it . . . if not about the full scope of His work, then at least concerning the full nature of His person. They knew He was more than just another rabbi. And though some claimed He might be some kind of reincarnation of John the Baptist, or Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the prophets, those who had spent time with Him were getting that He was someone greater than any of the prophets . . . that He was, in fact, “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:14-16). And with that, as He continued to teach them and train them, they gained a deeper understanding of the implications of what that meant. One such implication, fully realized in the upper room on the night Jesus was to be betrayed, was that He was omniscient.
Now we know that You know all things and do not need anyone to question You; this is why we believe that You came from God. (John 16:30 ESV)
Omniscient . . . all knowing . . . an attribute of the Triune God. The Father knows all things . . . the Son knows all things . . . the Spirit knows all things.
So what’s grabbed me this morning is an assertion in the letter to the Hebrews describing what might seem at first to be an oxymoron . . . omniscient learning.
In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. (Hebrews 5:7-8 ESV)
The Christ, the Son of the living God . . . He who knows all things . . . learned obedience through what He suffered. The omniscient One gained knowledge . . . what does that mean?
To be sure, the mystery of the incarnation, God in flesh, is multi-faceted . . . one face of that diamond being that which the eternal Son of God would experience through “being born in the likeness of men” . . . of what He would “learn” experimentally of what it entailed to be “found in human form . . . becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Php. 2:7b-8).
Though I don’t fully comprehend it, the “infinitely wise and perfect Son of God” (a Zane Hodges phrase) gained an experiential knowledge about the human condition when He exchanged His eternal glory for flesh. As MacDonald says, “His entrance into this world as a Man involved Him in experiences which He would never have known had He remained in heaven.” As such, He experienced first hand the dynamic of obedience, though one is suffering . . . of being subject to the Father’s will in “Plan A” when everything in your flesh wants to try a “Plan B.” Though He cried out to the Father that the cup of death might pass from Him, yet He prayed, “Not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). Though He could have called legions of angels to set Him free from the cruel cross (Matt. 26:53-54) . . . and avoid being made sin and thus forsaken of the Father . . . yet He fully experienced the strength of heaven as He determined on earth to do the will of the Father. Omniscient learning . . . awesome!
And in doing so . . . in fully experiencing the weak properties of the flesh . . . I have a High Priest who is able to sympathize with my weaknesses . . . “One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). “For because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:18). Thank you, Lord!
Omniscient learning . . . a bit of a mystery . . . praise God, though, for the reality. To the Son be all glory! Amen?