Mark 13:32 But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Wait, isn’t this Jesus, the God-man? Isn’t the one that we read and write about here on this website all the time have all power and knowledge? How does the very Son of God not know when he will return? Doesn’t this show he isn’t God?
Each of these are very valid questions. But this isn’t the first time Jesus is described with restrictions. Luke 2:52, for instance, says Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature.” The book of Hebrews says that “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” It seems certain that Jesus had to learn some things in his humanity just as we do.
Let’s be clear: Biblical Christianity teaches that Christ had to be fully God to represent God to men, and be fully man to represent man to God (Col. 2:9; John 1, etc.). He’s 100% God and man!
To save us from the Father’s due wrath upon us, he had to be fully both. If he wasn’t a man, he couldn’t have died in our place as a substitute. If he was not God, he would have been just like you and me—that is, unable to defeat the power of sin and death and satisfy the Father’s wrath as a perfect sacrifice.
Again, Jesus was both God and man. And throughout his life, we see glimpses of both natures. For instance:
-Because he was human, he got thirsty (John 19:28). But because he was God’s Son, he could turn water into wine (John 2:1-13).
- Because he was human, he got hungry (Mark 11:12). But because he was God’s Son, he could feed 5,000 hungry people (Mark 6:30-44).
- Because he was human, he became weary (John 4:6). But because was God’s Son, he was raised from the dead (Matthew 28:1-15).
- And, to answer the questions above, because he was human, he didn’t know the day or the hour of his return. But because he is God’s Son and fully divine, he promised he would return with great power and great glory.
In other words, while on this earth, Jesus willingly emptied himself of many of his divine powers (Philippians 2:5-11). The Greek word is kenosis, which literally renders as “emptying.” In his human nature, Jesus doesn’t know, and he’s not retrieving his divine abilities.
(As a side note, this is another evidence for the historicity of Jesus and the Bible. If you wanted to make Jesus into a Hollywood superhero, why mention this? Why not edit this part out from Mark? The Gospel writers included this statement not to solidify their theories, per se, but because Jesus really did say it. The writers were dedicated to telling the truth of what Jesus said even if it came at a cost.).
In short, the reason Jesus doesn’t know is because, in his humanity, he “emptied himself” of all that knowledge and access to it.
And here’s the bigger question: Are you ready for Jesus’ return? Jesus went on in Mark 13:33-37 after making his original statement:
33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake.35 Therefore stay awake– for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning– 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
So, here are four questions to see if you’re ready for his return.
- Are you spiritually alert? How would your life be different if you knew Jesus was coming back today? Wouldn’t it make you question, “Am I ready? Am I living to please him?” For many reading this, the ultimate question is, “Is your soul ready for to return? Have you repented and believed the Gospel (Mark 1:14-15)?”
- Are you urgently on a mission? If you knew the world would end, how would your priorities be rearranged? We are consumed by work, possessions, hobbies, and bucket lists. And there’s nothing wrong with these things. We need rest and recovery and we have to work! But in the midst of these things, are you investing your life, time, and resources to eternal matters?
- Do you find hope in your most intense suffering? Suffering is a reminder this world is not the way it is supposed to be. The world is full of unfathomable evil and suffering. The Lord is full of unending love and comfort. If someone you loved died of cancer, if your closest relationship is severed, or if your body is full of pain, you can lift your eyes! Jesus may return as your read this article. His return promises us that the things of this life—good and bad—is only temporary.
- Do you have an intense power to forgive? If you believe Jesus will return as he said he would, then you can forgive as he told you to. Isn’t true when we are sinned against and wronged, we want justice? We then become judge because, after all, we know what they should receive as punishment. But that’s not our calling. At the return of Christ, he’s going to set all things right and we can endure until then because of that fact.
It is almost totally the case that we think of Christ’s return too lightly. We are either eagerly awaiting Christ’s return or we are apathetically in love with the world as it is. May we long daily for heaven, pray daily for Christ’s return, and live daily content and joyful as we rest daily in the sovereignty of God.