The Son Of God

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The Gospel of John primarily purposes to produce faith in the reader, more specifically, “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). When I first began to study and teach theology, it used to bother me that Jesus did not more often call Himself the Son of God and emphasize His deity. This was especially frustrating when I heard or read the arguments of liberals who noted Jesus' use of the name “Son of man” and insisted that Jesus never claimed to be God, only man. It was not until much later that I began to understand why Jesus did what He did. It is only when you fully understand the humanity of Christ that you see His deity. Likewise, only when you fully see His deity can you then see His humanity. Although some people like to distinguish between the expressions “God the Son” and “Son of God,” the difference is more imagined than real. The phrase “son of” was a common Hebraism to denote a relationship in which the “son” possessed the very same nature as that of which he was “son.” Even today, the highest honor a Jew can receive is to be recognized as “a son of Israel” by the Israeli government, meaning that he is by nature the personification of the true spirit of the nation. The expression “Son of God,” therefore, means Jesus is by nature the personification of God Himself: He is of the very same essence as the Father. When we refer to Jesus as “the Son of God,” we do not mean that He is in any way inferior to or less than God the Father. In every respect the name “Son of God” implies that the Son is both co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. This is also true of other forms of this namesuch as, “Son of the Blessed” (Mark 14:61), “the Son of the Father” (II John 3), “the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:32), “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), and “Son of the most high” (Mark 5:7). This relationship of Jesus to the Father was not something that Jesus discovered only later in life. As a twelve-year-old boy, He understood He was the Son of God and needed to be about His Father's business (Luke 2:49). This was also reaffirmed at His baptism. When He was dipped into the water by John the Baptist, God “thundered” from Heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He did not dispute that He was indeed the Son of God (Luke 4:3,9), and Satan knew full well that Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus later encountered a demon-possessed person who called Him “ Son of the most high God” (Mark 5:7). “God Most High” (El Elyon) is the name of God which demons most often used. Satan fell from his exalted position when he attempted to be like El Elyon (Isaiah 14:14). Melchisedek used this name to identify the Possessor of heaven and earth (Genesis 14:19). The constant attack of Satan against El Elyon often takes the form of destroying or taking possession of that which rightfully belongs to God. At His trial, Jesus was accused and charged with both insurrection (at the Roman trials) and blasphemy (at the Jewish trials). He was asked by the High Priest, “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63). While He hung on the cross, enemies of Jesus mocked Him with statements such as, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matthew 27:40); and, “He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God” (Matthew 27:43).

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