There are a number of terms that are used throughout the gospels, which can be a bit confusing if we are unfamiliar with them. The most basic question is, “Who is Jesus?” Well, Jesus is the Savior, Lord, Messiah, Christ, Deliverer, Son of David, God, Son of God, Son of Man. Did Jesus claim to be God? Is the divinity of Jesus biblical?
Significance of the term, “Son of God”
- The Son is separate from the Father.
- The Son is the heir and not the servant of the Father.
- The Son has the same nature as the Father.
In Regard to Deity
- The Jews recognized absolute deity in the phrase, John 5:17-18, 10:33 (Matthew 26:63-66, Luke 22:66-71).
- The Son is ascribed deity in Hebrews 1:8-9.
- Son of God vs. Son of Man: two designations in the NT, but emphasized his two natures, human and divine.
- Jesus claims unity with the Father, John 10:30.
- The Son claims equal authority with the Father, John 5:19-21, 25-26, doing the same things (raising the dead, life in themselves).
- The Son claims equal honor with the Father, John 5:23.
- The Son is also the Creator, Hebrews 1:2.
- The Son is the exact representation and image of the Father, his likeness, Hebrews 1:3.
- The “only begotten” Son indicates his unique divine nature, John 3:16, 18, 1 John 4:9.
- In contrast, believers are begotten of God (John 1:13, 1 John 3:9, 4:7, 5:1, 4, 18) and sons of God (Romans 8:14, Galatians 3:26).
- Doubting Thomas saw undeniable evidence of Jesus’ resurrection (John 20:24-29) and declared “My Lord and my God.”
SUMMARY on the two top titles for Jesus:
The description “Son of Man” was a Messianic title. Jesus is the One who was given dominion and glory and a kingdom. When Jesus used this phrase, He was assigning the Son of Man prophecy to Himself (Daniel 7:13-14). The Jews of that era would have been familiar with the phrase and to whom it referred. Jesus was proclaiming Himself as the Messiah.
Concerning the use of “Son of God,” Jewish leaders clearly understood what Jesus meant by using the phrase “Son of God.” To be the Son of God is to be of the same nature as God. The Son of God is “of God” and declares himself to be equal with God.
[Based on my classes with Richard D. Leineweber, Jr. c. 2000]