And seeing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” Matthew 9:4
Seeing – Would you ever say, “I see what you’re thinking”? Do you mean that you can look inside the mind of another person and observe the neural synapses firing electrons? Do you mean that you can visibly perceive the formation of mental images? No, of course not. The expression is an idiom. What we actually observe is behavior like facial expressions and the movements of parts of the body, and on that basis we draw a conclusion about what the person is thinking. That’s why we say that we see what they are thinking, not that we hear or understand or some other verb of acquisition. So when it comes to Yeshua, why don’t we use the same logic?
How many times have you heard someone say that Yeshua had “supernatural” powers here on earth? After all, He could read men’s minds, couldn’t He? Doesn’t this verse say so? He could walk on water. He could raise the dead. Doesn’t that mean He must be God walking around in a body that looks human? NO! It doesn’t. And if it did, we would all be the most miserable of men (as Paul would likely express it). Why doesn’t this evidence make us draw the conclusion that Yeshua is really God? Because that isn’t what it means to be human. When Paul says that Yeshua emptied himself of his divinity in order to take on the existence of a human being, he did not mean that Yeshua only appeared to be human and that, when convenient, He could bring back all those divine powers. No, to become a doulos, a slave, meant that Yeshua gave up those divine powers. He was not God disguised as a man. He was a man in the service of the Most High God.
Of course, He was a unique man. No other man has emptied himself to become like us. No other man has been perfectly obedient. No other man could be the required sacrifice from before the foundation of the world. But Yeshua’s humanity guarantees that He does in fact know our mortal frame. He knows our weaknesses, our temptations, our limitations. He is not Superman or even Batman. He is one of us. That’s why He can be my savior. What He does, He does in the same way that God uses us to do the will of the Father. Through obedience. Through an intimate relationship. Through suffering. Through abandonment.
There are some things Yeshua does that you and I can never do, but those things are usually not the signs of divinity (there are some exceptions). He even tells us that His authority and His manifestation of power does not come from Him. He does what the Father shows Him to do. He could take back His divinity, but that would destroy His reason for coming here in the first place. In fact, that’s what some of the temptations are all about. We should forever rejoice that Yeshua was God’s man. His voluntary limitation makes it possible for you and me to enter into God’s unlimited purposes. Yeshua knows me from the inside out. That’s worth celebrating.
Topical Index: seeing, power, emptying, Matthew 9:4