“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
I am regularly struck by the power of these verses. God always has been. He always was, is, and will be. And He created everything in existence out of nothing.
Not only that, but Jesus was right there. He was with God. In fact, He was and is God. It’s all quite mind-boggling for this simple-minded gal. It is something I cannot wrap my head around, so I simply must accept in faith.
But this morning I read something that added to the profound nature of those verses.
So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” John 8:28
Jesus is in the middle of a discussion with the religious leaders who are challenging Him and claiming that He is a liar. The whole discussion is worth reading in context, but I want to pull out a couple of things from this one verse.
First, notice how Jesus refers to Himself. “…you will know that I am…” Interestingly, the Greek does not include the “He” that we see in the English translation. It simply says, “I AM.” Sound familiar? It should. Jesus is identifying Himself with the God who told Moses that His Name was I AM. Yes, He is making that claim. Phrases like these are scattered throughout the Gospels. Our English translations add a “He” or change up the phraseology to make it flow. But Jesus is saying, “I AM.” Oh how I love that!
But there is another thing to see here. At the end of this verse, Jesus says, “I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” Taught? Jesus had to learn? The One who was in the beginning had to learn? He was not only the omnipotent Creator, He was also the omniscient God. Why would He have to learn anything?
In Philippians we read this:
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Phil 2:5-7
I often think of the reality that He emptied Himself of His power and His glory. But He also emptied Himself of His knowledge. The knowledge that came naturally to Him. The knowledge He’d always had. He gave that up to be like us.
By His own admission, He had to learn. All the marvelous things He said in the temple at age twelve had to be learned as He grew up. He surrendered it all for us. For me. For the accomplishment of His purposes on this earth. Wow.
Oh how that encourages me! Oh how it motivates me! And oh how it overwhelms me. I cannot imagine emptying myself of all knowledge just to identify with someone else. Yet that is what Jesus did. The One who created all existence…the One who was in the beginning…emptied Himself and had to start from scratch, relearning what the Father taught Him.
Culturally, we get a “fresh start” every January 1. It is just another day on a calendar, but it is still a beginning mentally and emotionally. This year I want it to mark the beginning of a new drive to learn. I want to grow in knowledge and understanding as my amazing Savior did. I want to learn from the Father – and I can because of Jesus’ willingness to empty Himself and open an avenue for mankind to learn directly from God Himself.
That is my heart for this new beginning.