The Basics 4a: Jesus is God the Son

Jesus is… Jesus is the pivot point of history. The rock on which many stand and a stumbling block for many others. Jesus is the name above all names and a curse word. In his name, great works benefiting the lost, the least, and the captive were launched. And in his name, some have waged war and degraded others contrary to all Jesus taught and did.

At one point during his three years of ministry, Jesus asked his disciples a question. “Who do you say that I am?” One of his closest disciples, Simon Peter, answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:15-16)  The next set of articles in this series called The Basics: A Readable Review of Essential Christian Faith will look at various aspects of Jesus. Theologians call this Christology – the study of the nature of Christ, of Jesus.

Our first aspect of Jesus is perhaps the most vital. Get this one wrong and everything that follows is also wrong. While Jesus was born in a Bethlehem stable his existence didn’t begin there. The Gospel of John begins, “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.” (John 1:1–3, NLT) A few verses later John states,  “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” (John 1:14, NLT) Jesus is God the Son.

Jesus himself stated this truth. One day Jesus was in the Jerusalem Temple at the Feast of Dedication. The Jewish leaders and folks kept asking him to declare plainly if he was there long awaited Messiah.    “Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.” (John 10:25, NASB95) He ends this declaration with “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30, NASB95) Jesus was more than Messiah, the redeemer of Israel, he is the Son of God and one with God.

This one truth is like a sharp bladed razor. Those who refuse Jesus Sonship cannot except all that he did and taught. The supernatural miracles, even his resurrection, become myths and fairy tales if Jesus is not God the Son. If Jesus was simply a man then there is no special truth to be gleaned. On that side of the razor, he stands in the ranks of wise teachers which we may choose to adopt or ignore. But knowing that Jesus is the Son of God changes everything. The supernatural becomes plausible. His teachings life-changing. On this side of the razor, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

There is also some mystery surrounding this truth. Some of it was discussed earlier when we considered the Trinity –  The hows and when of Jesus being begotten of God is not revealed in the Bible. Here’s the problem, the word “begotten” or “born” puts this in our linear timeframe but God is eternal. The classic understanding is that Jesus has always been in the same way as God. The hows and when are not vital, but the “is”, the fact of Jesus Sonship, is vitally important.

Everything else which we will consider is empowered and made effective by this one truth. Throughout this section the question above all other questions is “Who do you say Jesus is?” Like Peter, part of my response is “You are the Son of God.” What about you?

Dale Heinold
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