As Jesus moved through the thronging crowd of people on his way to the home of Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue at Capernaum, a woman who had a menstrual problem for twelve years came up behind him, touched him, was healed and disappeared back into the thronging crowd. Jesus turned around and asked: “Who touched me?” The question I wish to pose is: did Jesus know who touched him, and if not, how could the woman be healed without Jesus’ prior knowledge? Every healing Jesus had done up to this point was a purposeful healing. Jesus knew what he was doing, and he did it. If Jesus knew he was about to heal the woman, why did he phrase his question as he did? Some scholarship wants to questions Jesus’ knowledge, while others seem to want to give Jesus omniscience as a man. What can we say about these things?
Given the wording of the text, it is difficult to determine whether or not Jesus healed the woman purposefully. That is, it is difficult to say with certainty that Jesus knew the woman was there and healed her. Jesus tells us that his Father shows him what he needs to do, and he does it (John 5:19-20). Why did Jesus cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to Gerasenes (Luke 8:22, 26)? Did he know about the demoniac beforehand, or did the Father simply tell him via the Holy Spirit to go to the other side of the lake? We aren’t told the details concerning how Jesus knew certain things that occurred.
When Jesus was in the form of God (Philippians 2:6), he was equal with God (omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent). However, when he took upon himself the form of a man (Philippians 2:7-8), he did so, knowing he took upon himself the limitations of that form, so that it would be possible for God in the flesh to die. If God in the flesh was no longer omnipotent (unable to die) was he omniscient? Is it possible for the human brain (which the Son of God assumed by becoming man) to know everything?
I believe what Jesus knew, while in the form of man during the first century AD, depended upon the details the Father revealed to him. It is implied in John 5:19-20 that Jesus knew only what he needed to do next, and the Scriptures suggest that came by revelation, not through omniscience. The Gospel narratives never tell us what exactly Jesus knows, or how it was that he knows the things he understands. For example, in Luke 6:6-11 did Jesus know a trap was laid for him, because the Father revealed it to him, or was he able to simply perceive a snare was prearranged, because the faces of his enemies couldn’t hide what was in their hearts?
So, did Jesus know about the woman before she touched him, or did he know “someone” touched him, because he perceived the power of God passed through him to the woman? I don’t believe it can be known for certain what Jesus knew, but, personally, I believe Jesus didn’t know about the woman, until she touched him. This is the easiest way to understand the text.
Luke tells us that the woman came forward only after she realized she couldn’t be hid (Luke 8:47). Yet, this doesn’t prove Jesus knew beforehand that it was this woman who touched him. Jesus was always filled with the Holy Spirit, and spiritual discernment is one of the Spirit’s gifts (1Corinthians 12:10). Therefore, he simply may have been able to understand it was this woman who that touched him by discerning the expression on her face. When their eyes met, she realized Jesus knew, and she came forward. The text doesn’t say how she knew, but it does say she knew she was no longer able to hide. This kind of knowing is prevalent in mankind and needs no explanation, and perhaps this is why the Gospel narratives often don’t elaborate about how Jesus knew certain things.
We need to keep in mind that everything we are able to do, say or feel are abilities we inherited from Adam, the father of our race. Absolutely nothing could be inherited by mankind that wasn’t found first in Adam’s DNA. This idea, of course, denies the Theory of Evolution, which is okay with me. I have written a number of studies on this controversy, so I’ll just say here that all we are capable of knowing, doing or feeling etc. we have inherited from Adam. Nothing new can be brought into our race, if that power or proclivity wasn’t present in the DNA of the person the Scriptures call Adam. That said, Scripture tells us that God is bringing a new creation into existence, and Jesus is the New Man (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10) or Second Adam (1Corinthians 15:45-47) of this creation. We are created in Christ, Jesus (Ephesians 2:10), and all we are capable of doing, knowing or feeling etc., as it pertains to the Kingdom of God, comes from our inheritance in Christ.
When he lived out his life as man during the first century AD, Jesus operated in the gifts of the Spirit, not through his deity. Therefore, we may have spiritual discernment (a gift of the Spirit), but we cannot have omniscience (a characteristic of God alone). We are able to inherit from Jesus only what Jesus possessed as the God who became man (John 1:14). If he left the form of God behind (Philippians 2:6) in order to embrace the form of man (Philippians 2:7-8), it stands to reason, he is able to offer us only what he possessed while in the form of man. Since he was always “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1), then we are able to inherit the gifts of the Spirit only through Jesus (Ephesians 1:3), and this is what makes us a part of the new creation, in which Adam has no part.