Man’s Quest for Knowledge
Man has always been on a quest for knowledge. Ever since Adam and Eve’s fall to Satan’s temptation to “know good and evil” and to be “wise” (Gen 3), the knowledge quest has drawn men into sin. The Enlightenment failed because it sought to build knowledge through rational thought and the rejection of God. More recently, Marx (economics), Nietzsche (power) and Freud (sex) all proposed new knowledge that would bring man fulfillment. The dismal post-modern idea that there is no sure knowledge, seeks to deconstruct civilization into an atheistic, pluralistic and relativistic pool of confusion. The Internet has provided easy access to most human knowledge and experience including the promotion of darkest human perversion, just a click away. Politicians, media kings/queens and activists promote hyper-partisan opinions, gaining power/wealth, while dividing people into armed camps. Man’s use of the exploding levels of secular knowledge has not led to peace or joy.
The Powerful Knowledge of Jesus Christ
If knowledge is power, then Jesus Christ is the most powerful man who has ever lived. For Jesus Christ had intimate knowledge of God and a superior human knowledge. Christ’s powerful Gospel recreated civilization. In Christ’s Knowledge “is the new and definitive covenant…[and]…will never pass away…” (Catechesi Tradendae). The Truth and Knowledge of Jesus Christ is preserved by the Catholic Church through the oral Tradition and the written Gospels (CCC 126). The Church proclaims the Truth of Jesus Christ through preserving, interpreting and promulgating the Sacred Scripture without error (CCC 107). The Church is “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (CCC 171) for today’s 2.2 billion Christians, the wider world and for all future generations.
The Divine and Human Knowledge of Jesus Christ
Human knowledge – The Church teaches that Jesus “assumed a rational human soul” that “is endowed with true Human knowledge.” His “knowledge could not in itself be unlimited; it was exercised in the historical conditions of his existence in space and time.” This is why, as he grew into manhood, Jesus could “increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52; CCC 471-472).
Jesus asks questions and acts to find out something He does not know (Mark 6:38, 11:13; Luke 8:30). To deny that Jesus learned is to deny that He learned things from his Mother, the people and other experience. Christ comes to have complete solidarity with man, impossible without the experience of human learning. Jesus learns through experience for He is truly human.
Divine Knowledge – As the Son of God, through His human knowledge “not by itself, but by its union with the Word, knew and showed forth in itself everything that pertains to God. Such is first of all the case with the intimate and immediate knowledge that the Son of God made man has of his Father…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” (CCC 473-474). As the Divine Knowledge of Truth, Jesus’ life is a lesson in wisdom; words, silence, miraculous acts and through the smallest detail. Despite sharing everything with the Father, Jesus admits that He doesn’t know the Day of Judgment (Matt 24:36) but also that He was not sent to reveal it (Acts 1:7).
How Jesus Christ Demonstrates Knowledge
Demonstrations of Divine Knowledge:
- Knows the Father in an intimate, direct and exclusive way – “No one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him”(Matt 11:27; also, John 1:18; 3:11; 6:46). “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). His knowledge is not through faith, but from direct knowledge of the Father. Jesus describes eternal life as “knowledge”: “this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).
- Interacts with the supernatural – Directly confronts Satan and is ministered to by angels (Matt 4:1-11), experiences the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:16) and talks with Moses and Elijah (Luke 9:30).
- Reveals His knowledge of people’s hidden lives – Jesus knows what is in Nathaniel’s heart (John 1:47-49), the Samaritan woman’s history (John 4:17-18), the disciple’s arguments behind His back (Mark 9:33-35) and that Lazarus is dead (John 11:14).
- Knows the future – Describes His Passion before the fact (Matt 12:39-41), knows the timing of His hour(John 2:4), predicts Peter’s denial and the disciples defection (Mark 14:18-21,27-31; Luke 22:31-39), His Resurrection (Mark 8:31) and the destruction of the Temple (Matt 24:2).
Demonstration of Human Knowledge:
- Has incredible big picture perspective – Jesus knows salvation history and has a clear understanding of the religious-political landscape. Knows the errors of the Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes and Zealots. He has a plan for Salvation and makes it happen.
- Institutes the Eucharist – Re-imagines elements of the Exodus (manna), the rituals of Passover (sacrificial lamb), table fellowship and Roman crucifixion and establishes the lasting life-giving Sacrament of the Eucharist.
- Deep insights into lives and the motivations of humans – Jesus develops deep human knowledge that He uses to teach the Gospel. His 30 parables are masterpieces that have the power to touch lives today: The Good Samaritan, The Prodigal Son, Workers in the Vineyard, etc. The Parables demonstrate that Jesus is a keen observer of nature and people that He uses with vivid detail, humor and sympathy. He demonstrates specific knowledge of farming, business, ethic rivalries, religious life, community, etc.
- Unparalleled genius of His Sermons – The Sermons of Jesus Christ are perpetual reminders of His genius that speak to each generation. His genius is recognized in His own time, and is compared to Moses, David, Solomon and Elijah; He is called the “Word”(John 1).
- Uses superior Scriptural knowledge to correct powerful opponents –Christ demonstrates an encyclopedic knowledge of Scripture, referring to about 80 Old Testament passages from about 25 books. He uses His superior exegesis to publically rebuke/correct religious authorities across a wide variety of doctrines (cf. Mark 10:2, 12:28; Luke 11:15, 14:1, 20:20, 20:32).