A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Did Jesus know he was God?

Bill Lambert

by Bill Lambert

One of the greatest mysteries we Christians have to cope with is how Jesus could be both God and Man at the same time.   In the gospels he says that the Father is greater than he,  and then says “If you have seen me you have seen the father.  The father and I are one.”   This led to heated disputes in the early church.  And finally came the definitive statement that Jesus was both God and man - and that’s that. 

If he did know he was God, when did he find out? Mary, his mother, knew when she asked him to work the miracle of the water-made-wine at the wedding feast.

One of the old apocryphal gospels - that is the ones excluded from the authorised bible - tells of Jesus working pretty little miracles when he was a boy.   How could a childish Jesus cope with the knowledge that he was God?   Not really.

We have Jesus in the Temple bewitching the priests with his wisdom  at the age of 12.   Was it then, or was he just showing them what a smart kid he was?

Many think that realisation came to him when he was baptised by John in the Jordan, and a voice from heaven said: “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.”

It fits. As John was the precursor of Jesus, if would be fitting that he should play a part in instituting that moment when Jesus became aware of his divinity.

Jesus used his miracles as evidence of his divine powers. When the paralytic was lowered down to him on a mat Jesus told him his sins were forgiven. Some priests present murmured to themselves: “Only God can forgive sins.”

“I will prove to you that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins,”  said Jesus and told the paralytic to take up his bed and walk.

In John’s gospel particularly we have Jesus repeatedly asserting his divinity.   “Before Abraham was I AM.”

As further evidence of his divinity he foretold  the manner of his own death, and then claimed he would  return to life on the third day - the miracle of Jonah, as he told the priests.

And the final clincher ...    the excuse the Sadducees presented for condemning Jesus to death was that he had blasphemed, claiming to be the son of God!

If we are to accept  that the four gospels mean what they say,  Jesus certainly knew he was God.

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