Did Jesus Know His Divine Nature before the Resurrection?

Dear Catholic Exchange:

A friend has made the statement that he believes Jesus did not know who He was until after the Resurrection. This individual is very knowledgeable of scripture and church teaching however I believe that he is out in "left field" on this one.

What is the Church teaching abut this? I think He knew from the beginning, certainly when John the Baptist was sanctified at the visitation, certainly when He was found in the temple; at His baptism; at Cana; and at the Transfiguration. Certainly every time he referred to his "Father".

Thank you,

John Heuser


Dear Mr. Heuser,

Peace in Christ!

While many people focus on the human knowledge of Christ, which is limited by nature, the teaching of the Church reflects the reality that Jesus is both God and Man.

As the Catechism puts it: "Christ, being true God and true man, has a human intellect and will, perfectly attuned and subject to his divine intellect and divine will, which he has in common with the Father and the Holy Spirit" (no. 482).

Pope John Paul II in Novo Millennio Ineunte (6 January 2001) explained the mystery this way:

However valid it may be to maintain that, because of the human condition which made him grow "in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man" (Lk. 2:52), his human awareness of his own mystery would also have progressed to its fullest expression in his glorified humanity, there is no doubt that already in his historical existence Jesus was aware of his identity as the Son of God. John emphasizes this to the point of affirming that it was ultimately because of this awareness that Jesus was rejected and condemned: they sought to kill him "because he not only broke the Sabbath but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God" (Jn. 5:18). In Gethsemane and on Golgotha Jesus' human awareness will be put to the supreme test. But not even the drama of his Passion and Death will be able to shake his serene certainty of being the Son of the heavenly Father.

For further explanation, please see our Faith Fact The Human Knowledge of Christ.

United in the Faith,

Eric Stoutz
Information Specialist
Catholics United for the Faith
827 North Fourth Street
Steubenville, OH 43952
800-MY-FAITH (800-693-2484)

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