How Did Jesus Know God Gives Him His People?

How Did Jesus Know God Gives Him His People? June 25, 2023


Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

Christians are taught that Jesus is not only 100% man, but also 100% God. (I was too and believed this for 22 years.) It is largely because such determinations were made by church fathers at the ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church during the 4th and 5th centuries. I believe this was a huge mistake to have decided that Jesus is God, and Christians have suffered from it ever since in their understanding of Jesus. But to then make this axiom a necessary faith condition to received God’s forgiveness for our sins and his salvation was much more foolhardy.

Rather, the Bible says people belong to Jesus by believing in him dying on the cross, bearing their sins (1 Peter 2.24), and that God proved this by raising him from the dead. According to the Bible, sincerely believing this is what makes a person a real Christian, not believing Jesus is God (e.g., 1 Corinthians 15.3-4). (See my book, The Restitution: Biblical Proof Jesus Is Not God).

So, Jesus was no more than a human being, but he was human as God had intended humans to be when he first made them. Thus, the rest of us humans are really not as human as Jesus was and is. Instead, we can sometimes be like wild animals.

So, we are less than God’s original design for human beings because we sin, which was not God’s will for us. Yet, God had a backup plan, which was Jesus and his salvation. To do that, Jesus never sinned (2 Corinthians 5.21; Hebrew 4.9, 15; 7.26;1 Peter 2.22; 1 John 3.5). I believe this is because of his Virgin Birth and Jesus’ determination to always obey God, his Creator. That is why the last book in the Bible characterizes Jesus as a conqueror or overcomer (English Bibles usually differ in using one or the other word. I’m using the NRSVue unless otherwise noted).

At the Last Supper, only hours before Jesus’ crucifixion, he told his apostles, “In the world you face persecution, but take courage. I have conquered the world” (John 16.33). Then, in the book of Revelation, the risen and heavenly-exalted Jesus said to his people, “To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3.21).

What did Jesus conquer or overcome? For starters, it was sin. Just think of the Devil’s three temptations of Jesus in the wilderness, between his baptism by John and the beginning of his public ministry. Jesus made himself most vulnerable to sin by fasting forty days. And at the time the Tempter came and tried all his tricks on Jesus, but to no avail (Matthew 4; Mark 1.12; Luke 4.1-13).

Did Satan really tempt Jesus? That’s what the texts say. If he did, then Jesus cannot have been God. For Jesus’ brother James writes what became Holy Scripture, “God cannot be tempted by evil” (James 1.13).

It is because of such things that God has given Jesus his people and his kingdom. However, God giving the kingdom to Jesus is only in part for now and will be consummated at the eschaton–end of this age.

The Johannine Jesus repeatedly said that God had given him his people. He said in John 10.27-30, referring to his people, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, in regard to what he has given me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one,” meaning they are unified in ministry to the sheep–Jesus people God gives him.

How did Jesus know this? If you believe Jesus was God, as I did for 22 years as a Trinitarian Christian, it is rather a nonsensical question. How so? He knew it because he is God, and God knows everything. But I now believe that is wrong. Even though Jesus had an amazing God consciousness, he had to learn divine revelation much like we do–by reading the God-inspired scriptures.

So, where in the scriptures did Jesus learn about his people whom God would give him? I think it probably was primarily in the book of Daniel, to which Jesus sometimes  referred (e.g., Matthew 24.15 and parallels). Daniel 2 is about a prophetic dream that Babylon King Nebuchadnezzar had and Daniel interpreted. It is about human-looking statue symbolizing the great empires of the future world, and then a stone falling on the feet and toes of the image, crushing to whole to pieces. Then we read of the stone, which symbolizes the kingdom of God, “the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2.35).

This stone in Daniel 2 symbolizes the kingdom God will give to Jesus, who constantly called himself the “son of man,” referring to Daniel 7. For read in that text that Daniel had visions of which he relates, “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days,” referring to God the Father, “and was let into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power, all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7.13-14 NIV). The remainder of Daniel 7 then backtracks by foretelling the plight of these “peoples,” who are called “saints” or “holy ones.” So, the kingdom given to Jesus consists mostly of his people, who therefore are given to him.

When did Jesus learn this, about God giving him his people and kingdom? I think Jesus very likely learned this while he was a carpenter, thus before he made the decision to go to be baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist. How so? He probably read it in the book of Daniel in the scriptural scroll at the synagogue in the village of Nazareth, where he lived. If so, it shows the importance for us of reading the holy scriptures that God has given to us, since even Jesus had to read them to learn about his mission God had for him to do. And we he realized this divine destiny for his life, it gave him much courage to persevere amidst temptation and thus become Conqueror and Savior to us who believe in him.

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