Did Jesus make mistakes?

(Joseph Riggs) #1

Hello there, I have a question that the Lord put on my mind the other day and I would like some help answering it.

I was driving down the road the other day and needed to turn left. I forgot to use my blinker and pulled out in front of sombody, it scared the living daylights out of me and problably scared the other driver. Thank God we did not collide and I made it though the intersection without a dent.

The point is, if Jesus was sitting in traffic and needed to turn, could he forget to use his blinker and threaten the lives of other humans? I understand that Jesus is 100% God and 100% human but would he have made mistakes that could have put his life/ other’s lives in danger? And would he feel the nasty feeling you get inside when you make a horrible mistake like that?

Just something I’ve been thinking about, hope sombody could bring elightment to this question.

Thank you, Joseph Riggs (sorry for any spelling errors, typing on a phone)

(SeanO) #2

@JRiggs I do not have a definitive answer, but I’d be glad to begin a discussion we can all jump in on :slight_smile: We know Jesus became tired, which does tend to reduce mental acuity. But He also fasted in the wilderness for 40 days and nights and still had the mental awareness to resist the temptation of the devil brilliantly (Matthew 4:1-11). Maybe Jesus exhibited extreme discipline of his own mind even when under physical duress?

John 4:6 - Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

(Kevin Hurst) #3

@JRiggs Maybe another verse I would add to the mix for discussion is what does Hebrews 5:7-9 mean? Hebrews 5:7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

(Joseph Riggs) #4

Thanks everyone for their responses. I have realized that when something is not clearly stated in the Bible it can be very hard to find an answer. Comming off of what @Kevin_Hurst said about Hebrews 5:7-9. Jesus indeed did have to learn, he didn’t pop out of the womb all knowing. In Luke 2:52 it states; “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and Man”. This states that Jesus did have to GAIN wisdom. Trial and error is one of the most effective ways of learning, I believe that Jesus made small mistakes in order to gain wisdom just as any human would. Just like I have to learn to use my blinker in traffic, Jesus would have to learn in the same way. I believe that his immense wisdom ( and extreme discipline) would AID him in his humanly forgetfulness (even in physically low times @SeanO).
Anything to add to this/ do y’all agree?
The imput has been great so far, hope we can get more opinions on this question, thank you.

(Carson Weitnauer) #5

Hi @JRiggs,

I want to thank you for asking a great question!

My main hesitation in answering the question is how we each understand the words ‘sin’ and ‘mistake.’ I think there are some ways to define a mistake that overlaps with our definition of sin.

For instance, in your example, perhaps it was a mistake to forget to use your blinker, but a sin to be distracted by texting on your iPhone. Or it was a sin to be out driving after not sleeping for two nights and risk driving in a state of extreme fatigue. And so on and so forth - I don’t at all mean to be blaming you and I’m very glad you’re both okay. :slight_smile:

To speak more broadly, I have a hard time constructing the scenario where a driver is:
1 - Intentionally doing everything for the good of their neighbor (especially other drivers) and
2 - Not allowing himself to be distracted from what it means to love other drivers in any way, and yet
3 - Forgetting to put on the blinker and/or pulling out in front of someone.

Actively loving others would mean that any driver is putting their interests above their own, fully alert, the car was well maintained, etc. Not being distracted from this task would mean the driver’s phone is turned off, the music is calm, he doesn’t start daydreaming about a challenge at work, etc.

What I can imagine, since I do it myself, is to be driving in a generally responsible way, but not in a morally perfect way, and because I am overall a reliable driver, not fretting too much if I sometimes don’t turn on my blinker. I haven’t been in an accident since… high school? I pay attention to speed limit signs, traffic conditions, etc. The occasional small mistake, given my generally responsible driving patterns, is truly harmless.

At the same time, I think we do need to acknowledge that Jesus was fully human and had human limitations. As I browsed some different takes on this question, I found some suggestions by Conrad Gempf, New Testament lecturer at the London School of Theology, to be interesting:

"But while we do learn from making mistakes, I’m not sure that’s the only way to learn. We don’t have any record of Jesus making a mistake that we can be clear definitely is one, even though the Gospels are willing to say the things that he didn’t know.

“If a learner says with confidence: ‘I know how to spell that word; it is spelled skool,’ that’s a mistake. If the learner says: ‘I don’t know how it’s spelled, but it sounds like it might be skool,’ that’s not a mistake; that’s an experiment or a guess. I think Jesus might have guessed and experimented, but I don’t think that he will have been convinced of the truth of something that was not true.”

I think the starting point of exploring this question, for me, is to attempt to imagine what kind of mindset and approach I would have to literally every decision if I was morally perfect. Given moral perfection, what kind of student would I be? It seems that the complete absence of sin would change so many of my starting points that the room left for what we call ordinary human mistakes would become quite small. And that those mistakes might (might) be better identified as experiments or attempts.

What do you think?

(Kevin Hurst) #6

Just another question to add, do you think that Jesus was ever disciplined as a child by his parents? If we believe in an age of accountability, when a child does wrong is it called a sin or just the effect of being human that we got from Adam? If it considered a sin in God’s eyes, is their sin covered under the blood of Christ? Just some questions that I have been thinking about. Just a theory here, but could have Jesus made some of these things we call “mistakes” as a child until He learned obedience through the discipline as a child. At the age of 12 He tells His parents that he must be about his Father’s business. Could it have been at that point that He became aware of why He had come to earth? I know these are all hypotheticals and probably should not be taken too far. I agree with Carson on this that the basis of any argument we have here is that Jesus had to be completely absence of sin.
Any thoughts?

(Melvin Greene) #7

I have to say that this is a fascinating question! I really like these kinds of questions that truly make you think in ways you haven’t thought before.

In pondering this, a few trails seem to emerge.
(1) What does it mean that Jesus is “fully human”? When I think of being fully human, I think of Adam and Eve before they sinned. God created them fully human and in a perfect state. They had full use of all their faculties, in particular their minds. Nothing was tainted, or deformed. Was Jesus in that particular state as being human? I think so since He was sinless. Because of being born into sin, or with a sin nature, as well as having the physical affects of sin, we see that to be human is to sin, or to be fallible. In truth we are not quite “fully human”. Of course, I’m referring to minds and personalities and natures, and not the physical limitations and frailties of the body. We know Jesus became tired, hungry and thirsty, and of course he felt emotional and physical pain.
(2) In saying that Jesus is fully human, and according to Hebrews, was tempted in every way, yet was without sin, would it have been possible for Jesus to have given in to temptation? Could Jesus have sinned? Since Jesus was also fully God and did not have a sin nature, I don’t believe he could.

This was just a few thoughts that came to mind.

(Mitzi Witt) #8

My understanding is that Heb. 5:7-9 would not be saying that he learned obedience from mistakes he made, but proved His obedience by experientially enduring all manner of suffering, yet without sin, growing in wisdom.He endured suffering, obeyed, and would have that learning. Made a perfect man. He entered our world and lived out obedience in all situations in real time as a man. He had the common experiences of man, but never had an occasion or need to be forgiven for sin against another.

(Mitzi Witt) #9

Your question kinda made me chuckle because I have in the past wondered if Jesus would drive if He was still bodily among us. Then one day it dawned on me that by His Spirit He was with ME as I was driving so driving wasn’t foreign to Him. ( again my early days of pondering such important things HA). I find myself often saying," I’m sorry!! Forgive me !!" as I talk to other drivers on the street…He knows I need His help in this busy city I live near. I never have the sense He would make the errors I make.

(Joseph Riggs) #10

Wow, these are some amazing responses. To confirm what @CarsonWeitnauer stated about a ‘mistake’ vs a ‘sin’. People’s definition of sin (believer or not) changes upon our point of veiw. Here in America it is a law to use your blinker. If you don’t use your blinker you are techincally breaking the law. Would this be a sin? Well, it depends, although Gods law is seperate from the governments law. In Romans 13: 1-2 God states to obey our government for he has set it in place. It is considered a sin to break the law and that is reasonable. But… somthimes our human brains forget and we slip up. It wasn’t technically a sin to “forget”. And a point of veiw can change if there is a blinker law in someone else’s country. If you are not required to use your blinker in your country it would not be labled a sin because it is not enforced by government.
Jesus knew what was Right in God’s eyes and what was Wrong in God’s eyes. So assuming he knows the laws of the country he problably would NOT make the mistake of forgetting to use his blinker becuase he technically would be breaking the law, dethroning Romans 13:1-2 and ultimately enabling him to sin. Please bring it to my attention if I am taking any verses out of context here.
But on mistakes that DONT involve law, I’m still unsure.
I apologise if this is kinda hard to follow.

(Joseph Riggs) #11

This is a very good question. Most of us could probably agree that Babies go to heaven. In Deuteronomy 1:39 it is stated that “children who do not yet know good from bad-they will enter the land” (land meaning Israel). But it states that children are innocent and don’t have the mental capacity to know good from bad. So I’m unsure on this one, Jesus being a child and a human problably did not have that mental capacity to know the difference either.
But if we want to have a whole new discussion about this topic you should start a new thread on it.

(Carson Weitnauer) #12

Kevin, I think you’ve zeroed in on the key question. The reality is, we just don’t have much information about Jesus’ childhood. Further, the gospels don’t seem to give us any indication that Jesus made mistakes as a human adult (though I am curious about any counter-examples). If anything, he was a masterful storyteller, teacher, leader, and miracle-worker. His ability to handle a wide range of people, scenarios, and challenges with a consistent grace, humility, love, and wisdom is remarkable.

Perhaps there are two ways to hypothesize about this:
1 - What do we observe about human children? What would it mean for them to be sinless and yet be somewhat like they are?
2 - What does it mean for Jesus to be sinless? How would perfect goodness express itself as a two year old baby?

I think we want to fully affirm both the humanity and the divinity of Jesus. So, we could consider the question from each angle, back and forth, back and forth, as we prune errors from our thinking in either direction. We neither want to eliminate his divinity not his humanity.

Finally, I would recommend we return this to the question of applicability. We can wonder and worship that Jesus fully assumed human form. And yet he do so in a way that fully expressed love and truth to the completeness of his limited human capacities. Perhaps this inspires us to dedicate the fullness of our human capacities to his service, as the Holy Spirit strengthens us to do the will of the Father today.

(Kevin Hurst) #13

@CarsonWeitnauer Well spoken. I agree with you. I think of Dan Brown and what many try to do with the humanity of Christ. If we destroy the moral argument of Christ, He just becomes a man like us. The very God of very God and very man of very man is quite the thing to wrap our minds around. But as John Lennox says - “the how is hard to understand but the explanatory power of it is why I believe it”. These are interesting questions for sure.:grinning:

(Jimmy Sellers) #14

Here is a companion question, Do you think that Jesus would engage in activities that would result in a winner and a loser? Like basketball or golf? How about business? Do you think he had to compete for carpentry work and was his work perfect?
I quite playing church basket years ago because I felt that if Jesus played he would always win or he would let everyone else win. In both cases that took the fun out of the game for me.:grinning:

(Kevin Hurst) #15

@Jimmy_Sellers I support your decision to quit playing. Not that I believe everyone that plays is sinning but I do think of the quote from Susanna Wesley to John Wesley on a definition of sin, Anything that weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or diminishes your relish for spiritual things. In short anything that increases the power and authority of the flesh over the Spirit to you it is sin, no matter how good it is in and of it self.
This definitely takes honesty with myself before God, in examining my own life. If these areas of life or pleasure are causing me to sin I need to either remove myself in some way or open myself to more accountability with other believers to make sure I am keeping my priorities right. I believe that Christ would have done this perfectly in dying to the flesh in whatever matter of life came before him. He is our example.
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will opens my eyes to the sin that is there in my life so that I can live a more Christ like and consistent life before others. Will a Christian sin? Ya I believe so, but there should be an upward ascent in our walk with the Lord. What some call progressive sanctification.
Also probably need to remember that temptation is not wrong, it is the yielding to it that is sin. But their is redemption made possible through Christ.

(Jimmy Sellers) #16

To be clear I don’t view competition as a sin. What I was setting up was the prefect golfer who always made hole in ones regardless of the course. This would take the wind out of the game for me. Who wants to always lose and never have a chance to win? Same thing for any competitive situation.

I quit church basketball because we had to many participants get hurt and miss work which usually resulted in a ‘pounding’ (that is Baptist speak and short for, for this guy’s family needs some groceries) and I earned the nickname ‘mad dog’ not a very becoming name for a Jesus follower.:grinning:

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(Kevin Hurst) #17

@Jimmy_Sellers haha ya I hear you on that:smiley:. How would that be if Jesus just always would win at everything he played? I am a competitive person too:grin:! One thing that my dad taught me and this is how I imagine Jesus to be, is that when Dad was made captain of the team he always picked those that would have usually been picked last, first. I would tell dad if you pick them we are going to lose. Dad said so what. My dad was good at sports, and when he picked those that were not good he would play even harder to try to win. Because of his extra effort, many times I found we would win in spite of not having the best players all the time. Not always of course:grin: but it was a good lesson for me.

(Russell Mashburn) #18

Jesus sees our heart. When he came here to save us he knew God was the source of his strength. His prayer was proof of how God listens and acts. He casted out demons no problem. Our lack of faith and sin nature made it difficult sometimes for us to do the same. That’s a great example of our fallible nature.

He sees our heart. He used tax collectors that were known to be corrupt that became great and a lot of the Pharisees and Sadducees were worldly and corrupt.

If Jesus was driving a car today. I believe he would act in love and compassion no different than when he walked from town to town.

(Mashinkah Bahston) #19

No. In what we deem as mistakes. The equivalent of sins. He was sinless even though He put on the form of man.

Although seeing Yeshua-Jesus as a child would be something. Obedient. Intelligent. Generous. Caring. Kind. It’s hard to wrap my head around it. But I wonder of He healed His family members? Did his parents ask him to weigh in on decisions? Did Joseph read the Torah to Jesus? Did they pray together as a family? Jesus looked like God and not Joseph, how did His mom Mary-Myriam handle it? Sibling rivalry? Was Jesus bullied for being the Brainiac? Did schoolmates accuse Him of being “Holier than thou.” Well. He was. This brings up a lot of things.