Why Didn’t Jesus Know When He Would Return? Devotional for January 19, 2022

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Today’s Bible reading from the Five Day Bible Reading Plan: Genesis 32-34, Psalm 145; Mark 13

One of the questions I am frequently asked about the life of Jesus is this: “Why didn’t Jesus know when he would return?” They ask this because of a verse in the Gospel of Mark: “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32). A Jehovah’s Witness one time noted that this was evidence that Jesus was not God, since God is omniscient (that is, all-knowing). Is he right? Is this proper evidence?

We just exited the Christmas season, and the Christmas season is primarily about one thing. Gifts? Christmas lights? Visiting family? No, Christmas is primarily about the Incarnation.

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,

Hail the incarnate Deity!

Charles Wesley, from “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

When Jesus came to earth as Immanuel (God with us), the name indicates that Jesus did not give up one shred of His Godhead but restricted it while He was on earth. Clearly, He was not omnipresent (everywhere), and He was not omnipotent (all-powerful–as His crucifixion indicated). Philippians 2:6-8 helps us understand this further about Christ…

… who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:6-8, ESV

So, as Jesus lived a human life on our behalf while still maintaining His full Godhead, He (like the rest of us) did not know when He would return. But know this: as He sits at the right hand of the Father, fully glorified in heaven, He knows the timing of all things now.

As for us? “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:33).


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