Father and Son

This entry is part 261 of 323 in the series Inquiring Minds
Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

Are Matthew 11:27, 24:36, Mark 13:32, Luke 10:22, Acts 1:4-6 contradictions about the Father and Son?

There are two different issues this question raises about the Father and Jesus. I will address them one by one. First, let’s deal with Matthew 11:27 and Luke 10:22. This has to do With the Relationship between the Father and Jesus. Here are the two verses:

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27, ESV)

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”” (Luke 10:22, ESV)

first of all, these two verses are parallel to one another. You’ll notice that the quotations above are nearly the same. So I will deal with this saying of Jesus found in these two verses. This saying has to do with God the Father giving all authority to Jesus. But it also has to do with the exclusive knowledge between the Father and Jesus, as well as everyone Jesus reveals the Father to.

This exclusive knowledge of one another occurs because both the Father and Jesus are two of the three members of the Trinity. They have a special knowledge of one another that no one else has. Because they are so close together, have such an intimate relationship, no one knows them like they know one another.

There is no contradiction in these two verses. They are saying virtually the same thing about the relationship the Father has with Jesus and Jesus has with the Father. Anyone who knows Jesus will also have a special relationship with both of these members of the Trinity.

You may be referencing this special relationship between the Father and Jesus because the next verses pointed out suggest that Jesus does not know everything the Father knows. But I want to make a distinction between knowing a person and knowing what they know. This distinction comes in handy as we look at the next verses.

Let’s deal with the second issue, that of Jesus not knowing what the Father knows while he was on earth. Jesus says he doesn’t know the time that the Father would send him again. These come from Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32, and Acts 1:4-7.

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matthew 24:36, ESV)

“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, ESV)

The day Jesus refers to is the day that the Father sends him back to earth to gather up the Church. It is a time in the end times. But the issue here as far as a contradiction is that Jesus doesn’t know while he is on earth, and I stress that, when this day will be.

When Jesus came to earth one of the theological understandings is that he limited himself in certain areas of his divinity. One of those areas may have been his supernatural and infinite knowledge.

There are times when Jesus shows surprise while in human form on the earth. Many scholars believe he limited himself in certain areas like divine knowledge, but only for the time that he was here during his incarnation.

This does not make him any less divine. It does not make him a lesser member of the Trinity or even not a member of the Trinity while he was on earth. There are other times when he shows his divinity quite naturally.

Jesus’ divinity and identity does not change despite his form. Anyone would be hard-pressed to argue with every action whether he is showing his divine or human side. The fact is that Jesus is both divine and human at the same time.

The second matter I must address are the different types of knowledge a person can have. The first two verses we pointed out earlier have to do with the relational knowledge Jesus and the Father share of one another.

But that is wholly different from a factual knowledge. A factual knowledge means I know facts that you may not know. There is no contradiction in the Father knowing a fact (when Jesus would return to earth in the end times) that Jesus didn’t know at that moment. Factual and relational knowledge are two different types of knowledge.

Now let’s look at the passage from Acts that was pointed out to carry what you are asking might be a contradiction. This also is not a contradiction. Let’s look at the verses from Acts. You asked me about Acts 1:4-6, but I believe you actually wanted to reference Acts 1:7. Verse seven is the verse that deals with the issue of Jesus knowing what the Father knows.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. (Acts 1:4–7, ESV)

Something changes in the book of Acts. While Jesus during his earthly ministry readily admitted that the Father knew a fact he didn’t, when he would come back in his second coming, he does not admit that in Acts 1:7.

He says, “It is not for YOU to know…” He does not admit as he did in the Gospels that he does not know. What happened between the Gospels and Acts? God raised Jesus from the dead and he joined the Father in heaven. It’s possible that the Father then informed him of any facts he was not aware of while on earth during his incarnation in ministry.

So there are no contradictions in any of these verses in the question. Each of them can be explained with the understanding of factual versus relational knowledge.

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