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Jesus is the "Son of God"
The phrase, "Son of God," occurs more than 40 times in the Bible, all but one of them in the New Testament. Each time “Son of God” is used, in the New Testament, it’s referring to Jesus. It’s a title that denotes His preeminence, holiness, and relationship to God the Father. As I mentioned in earlier posts, the fact that Jesus referred to God as His Father, was the primary reason the Pharisees wanted to kill Him (see Jesus is God).
John 10:25-30 (HCSB)25 “I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me.26 But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep.27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.30 The Father and I are one.”
The Jewish leaders wanted to kill him because He was claiming to be God's son therefore being equal with Him.
John 10:31-36 (HCSB) 31 Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him.32 Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?”33 “We aren’t stoning You for a good work,” the Jews answered, “but for blasphemy, because You—being a man—make Yourself God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Isn’t it written in your scripture, I said, you are gods?35 If He called those whom the word of God came to ‘gods’—and the Scripture cannot be broken--36 do you say, ‘You are blaspheming’ to the One the Father set apart and sent into the world, because I said: I am the Son of God?
The question then becomes how can He be both the father and the son? Here's what Jesus said at another time in the presence of Jewish religious leaders;
John 17:1-5, 10-11, 20-26 (HCSB)1 Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You,2 for You gave Him authority over all flesh; so He may give eternal life to all You have given Him.3 This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.4 I have glorified You on the earth by completing the work You gave Me to do.5 Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with You before the world existed. 10 Everything I have is Yours, and everything You have is Mine, and I have been glorified in them.11 I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one as We are one.20 I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message.21 May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.22 I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one.23 I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.24 Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am. Then they will see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world’s foundation.25 Righteous Father! The world has not known You. However, I have known You, and these have known that You sent Me.26 I made Your name known to them and will make it known, so the love You have loved Me with may be in them and I may be in them.
In summary here’s what He said;
Reading this in context it’s clear that Jesus’ statements about the Father in no way deny that He is God, because He makes claims that only God can make (See Jesus Is God He Has Attributes That Only God Has).
The title “Son of God” doesn’t mean that Jesus is God’s biological Son. It also doesn’t mean that the son is inferior to his father. Scholars say that the term “Son of God” in the original languages refers to likeness, or “of the same order.” That means that when He referred to Himself as the Son of God Jesus meant that He has divine essence as does God. Or in other words Jesus has the “DNA of God”. A human son shares his father’s DNA and although they are different people they are both men. In the case of Jesus He has the DNA of His Father so they are both God and, because there is only one God.... you get the picture. Here’s an explanation by Professor Peter Kreeft, a former professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College. Professor Kreeft is the author of numerous books as well as a popular writer of Christian philosophy, theology and apologetics:
“What did Jesus mean when he called himself the ‘Son of God’? The son of a man is a man. (Both ‘son’ and ‘man,’ in the traditional language, mean males and females equally.) The son of an ape is an ape. The son of a dog is a dog. The son of a shark is a shark. And so the Son of God is God. ‘Son of God’ is a divine title.”¹
Jesus is the “Son of Man”
I just wrote that Jesus is both the “Son of God” and God but to now say that He’s also “Son of Man” sounds, at first glance, like a contradiction doesn’t it? But there’s no contradiction at all..
The Gospels record that Jesus referred to Himself as "Son of Man" more than 70 times. “Son of Man” is Jesus' favorite designation, of Himself. He is the only one who used this title. He used it to emphasize His humanity. His disciples and others never used it when addressing, or talking about, Him.
When He asked His disciples who they said He was he referred to Himself as “Son of Man:
Matthew 16:13 (HCSB)13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
The Messiah would be a man
Jeremiah 23:5-6 (HCSB)5 “The days are coming”—⌊this is⌋ the LORD’s declaration— “when I will raise up a Righteous Branch of David. He will reign wisely as king and administer justice and righteousness in the land.6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. This is what He will be named: Yahweh Our Righteousness.
Daniel 7:13-14 (HCSB)13 I continued watching in the night visions, and I saw One like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before Him.14 He was given authority to rule, and glory, and a kingdom; so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.
Matthew 16:16-18 (HCSB)16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!”17 And Jesus responded, “Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven.18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.
Matthew 26:62-64 (HCSB)62 The high priest then stood up and said to Him, “Don’t You have an answer to what these men are testifying against You?”63 But Jesus kept silent. Then the high priest said to Him, “By the living God I place You under oath: tell us if You are the Messiah, the Son of God!”64 “You have said it,” Jesus told him. “But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
This statement infuriated the religious rulers because He was claiming to be the Messiah.
He was divine but also human
Though the Bible does not define its exact meaning, the title "Son of Man" may refer to the fact that Jesus was completely human. He, as God, left His home in heaven and came to live among men as the perfect human being. It seems by using the title "Son of Man" Jesus wanted to convey the truth that He was entirely human.
Philippians 2:6-8 (HCSB)6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form,8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross.
Galatians 4:4-7 (HCSB)4 When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
As a man He fulfilled the Law of Moses and did what no other human being was able to do. As the “Son of Man” He identified with the people He had come to save.
Matthew 5:17 (HCSB)17 “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
To fulfill the law He had to uphold it in everything He said and did, and He had to do that as a man. As a man, He showed the holy, spiritual purpose of God’s law in both the letter and in the intent of the heart.
The “Son of Man” forgave sin, and only God can do that
Mark 2:10-12 (HCSB)10 But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He told the paralytic,11 “I tell you: get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”12 Immediately he got up, picked up the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
He came as the “Son of Man” for a reason
Luke 19:10 (HCSB)10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
The “Son of Man” suffered on behalf of man
Mark 8:31 (HCSB)31 Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be killed, and rise after three days.
Mark 8:31 (HCSB) Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be killed, and rise after three days.
The “Son of Man” will be exalted
Matthew 25:31 (HCSB)31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
Yes Jesus is God
Jesus emptied Himself and took on the form of man and walked with His creation, in the flesh, for thirty-three years but He was and still is God.
1 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
In my first post I wrote about Jesus’ claims that He is God; in the second post I gave you attributes of Jesus that only God can have. In this post I answered the question how can Jesus be “Son of God, “Son of Man” and God. In my next post I’ll talk about some other characteristics that only God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit share. Stay tuned.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.