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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Did You Ever Consider Jesus Probably Never Knew Everything?

OK, OK, I know I should never argue about religion. In fact, these days, I usually feel sorry I even talk about anything in the Good Book. It seems people bristle when I even questions the meaning of a passage in the Bible. I usually don't worry too much about questioning religious views since I believe God gave me a brain that allows me to do so, and I also believe questioning is vital to increasing knowledge.

Recently, I read an opinion that soothed my mind. I feel relieved to discover that some theologians believe that my concerns may have been felt by Jesus, himself. Jesus, like me and all other humans, needed to learn a lot. He was not omniscient. He must have had a very inquisitive brain, so, I imagine He did his fair share of questioning His teachers and their lessons.

This simple revelation is something I have never considered: The son of God acquired an education as He grew into the Savior of the world. He was not born a know-it-all. I believe He never was all-knowing.

Here is part of an article from Reverend James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor of America magazine, that ponders this understanding:

"Jesus probably didn’t know everything.

"This is a thorny theological question. If Jesus is divine, wouldn’t he know all things? (Indeed, on several occasions Jesus predicts his death and resurrection.)

"On the other hand, if he had a human consciousness, he needed to be taught something before he could know it. The Gospel of Luke says that when Jesus was a young man he 'progressed' in wisdom. That means he learned things. (Otherwise how would he 'progress'?)

"In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus initially refuses to heal the daughter of a non-Jewish woman, saying rather sharply, 'It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.'

"But when she replies that even the dogs get the crumbs from the table, Jesus softens, and he heals her daughter. He seems to be learning that his ministry extends beyond the Jewish people."

(Rev. James Martin. "Five Things You Didn't Know About Jesus." 
CNN Opinion. March 14, 2014)

If, in fact, Jesus grew in wisdom in a natural and normal sense, there is still great hope on earth for us all. Perhaps we should choose our instructors very carefully and spend more time questioning and digesting important information we receive from them. This is part of the reasonable, innate craving of a human brain. Learning relies upon inquisitive thought and lifelong study which allows people to formulate deep understandings. Learning the hardest lessons requires the most time and effort. And, now I am considering that Jesus up to his death on Calvary kept learning vital lessons.

As a language arts teacher, I loved questions from my students. I knew a lesson was "hitting home" when student response exploded, almost as if I had hit a shared nerve that sent shock waves across the classroom. During these moments, the engagement with students transcended books and simple explanations and lifted to "the sky's the limit" opportunities for deeper, self-motivated, independent study. As a teacher, I felt my job was to stimulate as many students as possible to expand the limits of their initial understanding. I believe this creates lasting, important learning.

I still love this kind of learning. Questions that stimulate the growth of logic and reasoning create active, open minds willing to find new, even opposing ideas and explore better paths for living. This transfer surely happened with Jesus. I don't know the names or the personal beliefs of His Jewish teachers. To be honest, I've never heard it questioned. But, I assure you they must have had the ability to stimulate the mind of a deity. That is very powerful stuff, believe me.

The very fact that Jesus had to learn not only comforts me but also challenges me. At age 63, I still challenge myself to learn something new every day. I believe any stagnate mind, despite a great wealth of knowledge, begins to harden, to become "comfortable" in its closure. In this closed-mind state of existence, people begin to believe they "know it all" and begin to judge others and to become extremely concerned about building their own gigantic egos.

To see that Jesus changes his initial view as he considers a mortal's opinion is staggering in its implications. He was a deity with human traits, and He, like a reasoning student, found change to be the best option. If the living Christ found good in the words of a non-Jewish woman, He proved himself open to new understandings. Isn't this the power of the life of Jesus Christ? He listened, questioned, reasoned, and, in doing so, He better understood human beings and even better understood Himself.

I would like to thank Reverend Martin for his insight. Like him, I believe Jesus didn't know everything. And that statement goes much deeper than Jesus needing to acquire simple survival skills and basic human knowledge.

In my opinion, Jesus did not know everything about judgment and correct decisions. Some may say I am blasphemous when I say the Holy God walking the earth relied upon human teaching for change, but I see nothing about this belief that makes me think that Jesus was a common sinner. I think just the opposite -- if He had been a rigid, close-minded God, He would surely have committed atrocious, unforgivable sins.  

Studying the life of Jesus Christ with an open mind, we get a glimpse of His Holy Father and the love He extends to each of us. I believe all Christians should extend their views in the name of love as did Jesus. Certainly His Holy Father taught Jesus. Mary, His mother, taught Him. Teachers in the temples taught Him. Yet, He also learned from common human beings. Amen.

The Doubters Prayer

By Anne Bronte

Eternal Power, of earth and air!
Unseen, yet seen in all around,
Remote, but dwelling everywhere,
Though silent, heard in every sound. 
If e'er thine ear in mercy bent,
When wretched mortals cried to Thee,
And if, indeed, Thy Son was sent,
To save lost sinners such as me: 

Then hear me now, while, kneeling here,
I lift to thee my heart and eye,
And all my soul ascends in prayer,
Oh, give me -­ give me Faith! I cry. 

Without some glimmering in my heart,
I could not raise this fervent prayer;
But, oh! a stronger light impart,
And in Thy mercy fix it there. 

While Faith is with me, I am blest;
It turns my darkest night to day;
But while I clasp it to my breast,
I often feel it slide away. 

Then, cold and dark, my spirit sinks,
To see my light of life depart;
And every fiend of Hell, methinks,
Enjoys the anguish of my heart. 

What shall I do, if all my love,
My hopes, my toil, are cast away,
And if there be no God above,
To hear and bless me when I pray? 

If this be vain delusion all,
If death be an eternal sleep,
And none can hear my secret call,
Or see the silent tears I weep! 

Oh, help me, God! For thou alone
Canst my distracted soul relieve;
Forsake it not: it is thine own,
Though weak, yet longing to believe. 

Oh, drive these cruel doubts away;
And make me know, that Thou art God!
A faith, that shines by night and day,
Will lighten every earthly load. 

If I believe that Jesus died,
And, waking, rose to reign above;
Then surely Sorrow, Sin, and Pride,
Must yield to Peace, and Hope, and Love. 

And all the blessed words He said
Will strength and holy joy impart:
A shield of safety o'er my head,
A spring of comfort in my heart.

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