I’m sad to admit I have never done an Advent study until this year. And I am absolutely obsessed. It’s my favorite part of every day. Reading through the Christmas story has gotten me so fixated on the fact that Jesus literally came to Earth as a baby and went on to save our souls. It’s magical. It’s seriously the reason for this, my favorite season.
I don’t know if you have seen the animated movie, “The Star,” but it is one of the best, sweetest movies I have seen in a long time. I know it came out quite some time ago, but I just happened to stumble upon it a few nights ago on Netflix.
If you haven’t seen it, it’s the story of Jesus’s birth as told by the animals — predominantly the donkey that carried Mary. I cried during the movie and tear up every single time I talk about it.
Sorry for the movie spoiler that is on its way: The donkey starts out as a “mill donkey” walking in circle and grinding grain every day. He knows there’s more and desperately tries to escape his situation. He and his bird friend have a dream to be in the king’s royal caravan. Long story short, he escapes and ends up with Mary. He becomes loyal to her and protects her from King Herod’s “bad dogs.”
When the wise men come to visit after the birth of Jesus and bow down to the “King,” Bo realized who he had been carrying. He shockingly said, “I’ve been carrying a King.” I weep. Every time. Bo so badly wanted to have a huge purpose and be part of the royal caravan, but he had been set apart to carry the Savior of the world.
I related so much to that little donkey.
I often long for some grand purpose when I, in fact, have been set apart to carry the King of the world. And so have you.
I promise you I can’t even talk about this movie out loud without ugly crying. It’s beautiful and powerful. But it got me thinking about something else too. A really deep thought. A question I cannot find the answer to and no one else seems to know either.
When did Jesus know he was Jesus?
He came to Earth as a baby with human characteristics. He was also God. He was always God. But He was a baby and babies don’t know what’s going on.
Or maybe He always knew because of His God-characteristics.
Did Jesus always know He was Jesus? Or did His human characteristics cause Him to have to discover Himself?
My mind is blown, y’all.
I keep asking God to tell me when Jesus knew He was Jesus. I have been searching The Bible for answers, which is a good place to go when you have questions about Jesus, you know?
In Luke 2:34-35, a man named Simeon prophesied over the tween Jesus.
“And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (ESV)
And in Luke 2:41-51, Mary and Joseph lost Jesus!
“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it,but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances,and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.” (ESV)
But there are so many missing years of Jesus’s childhood in The Bible. I mean, surely he knew Who He was when He was in the temple. OR DID HE?
My Gigi said she read that if all the stories of all that Jesus did were written, there would be more books about Him than all the books there are in the world. And God definitely left room for mystery in His Word. It lets the wonder linger. It causes us to talk to God and ask our questions. It urges us to seek and find. And I love it. BUT I WANT TO KNOW WHEN JESUS KNEW.
Was he 4? Was he 7? Was he playing with the kids in the neighborhood knowing deep down that He would save their souls? Did He know the moment He entered the world and cried his first infant cry? That sounds accurate. Because HE WAS THE GOD-MAN. But it’s still worth pondering.
I was talking to a friend yesterday about Jesus’s anonymous years. We really don’t hear much about Him after those few childhood stories until His ministry begins at 30.
So, maybe He knew His power within His first moment on Earth, or maybe he spent those nearly 20 anonymous years (I am dying to read the book Anonymous by Alicia Britt Chole) finding out exactly Who He was.
But He never sinned… so… my mind continues to swirl.
When I asked my mom this question, she told me to call author Bob Goff and ask him.
People always freak out when I tell them I call Bob all the time. He’s kind of a big deal! But he literally put his number in the back of all of his Love Does books, so you can call him too!
Spoiler alert: In his second book, Everybody Always, he talks about a guy who calls him every three weeks to cuss him out.
SO — I decided to call him every three weeks to KIND him out! I call it my “Bob Goff Kindness Call.” He may not remember me when I call, but it really does give me the most joy! He’s so generous to take time to speak with his readers, and I want to bless him back with some kindness!
But this week, it was a Kindness Call and a Question Call combined. He was sitting down to dinner with his wife, Sweet Maria, when I called, so I kept it quick. I left him with the question: When did Jesus know He was Jesus?
He said, “Oh like when was he self-aware? That’s a really good question. I’ve never thought about that! I’ll let you know if I come up with something brilliant.”
I plan to call him back today to see if he came up with anything! And I want to know what you think, too. I’m really writing this in hopes someone has a biblically-sound, theological answer to this question.
I’m also writing this to remind you to THINK about Jesus. Maybe that’s why He plopped this question in my head in the first place. It has caused me to think about nothing but Him. I’ve been in the best mood with minimal worries and less distractions than usual. My thoughts are centered around Jesus. And I hope that’s where you find your thoughts landing this Christmas season too.
And, hey, if you have an idea about when Jesus, in his humanity, realized His God-ness, comment, message me, email me… I don’t care! I want to know what you think.
This question is way more fun than any political debate on Facebook.
The bottom line is that Jesus came to Earth. We celebrate Christmas because of His birth and His worth. Don’t take that lightly. Feel the weight of it all. Sit in silence for a little while this Christmas thinking of that day. Go to The Word and relive it. Talk about it with family and friends.
Celebrate the birth of our King. It doesn’t matter when He knew He was Jesus. It matters that He was and is our Savior.
And I want to treasure the birth of Christ just like His sweet mama did.
Merry Christmas friends.
Kaitlin C. Rogers