And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.John 1:34
Son of Man
In this Bible study we will explore the phrase Son of God from the scriptures to learn more about who is the rightful designee of this unique and notable declaration. While people through God’s grace can become sons (or children) of God (John 1:12), there is only one person who eternally exists (John 1:1) that can be ascribed as the Son of God. Readers of scripture will also discover there are many self references from Jesus as the Son of man and for the sake of time and clarity this study will seek to focus only on the phrase Son of God. It should be noted however that both titles serve to represent Jesus Christ in similar ways. Even the Son of man gives reference to his ability to forgive sins (Matt. (9:6), that he is Lord of the sabbath day (Matt. 12:8), that he sows the good seed (Matt. 13:37), that he came to save the lost (Matt. 18:11), that he will be risen from the dead (Matt. 17:9), and that he will send forth his angels upon his second coming (Matt. 13:41). The Son of man title is therefore by no means diminutive in comparison to the Son of God title in reference to Jesus Christ.
Son of God
The phrase or title Son of God was used by many people to identify Jesus Christ in the scriptures. Take for example when Jesus was walking on the surface of the sea coming towards the boat with his disciples in it. Here you have Peter boldly wanting to follow Jesus by walking on the sea himself only to falter through lack of faith. After Jesus saved him and entered into the boat, “Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” [Matt. 14:33] Similarly, the apostle Peter proclaimed Jesus Christ was the Son of God during another event further on, “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” [Matt. 16:16] John the Baptist’s entire ministry was centered around bringing awareness to Jesus Christ and this started early on, “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” [John 1:34]
Even during the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross when he was surrounded by his enemies and the seemingly godless Roman empire it was noted that a soldier made this declaration, “Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.” [Matt. 27:54] One of his disciples named Nathanael made the same declaration about Jesus when he was able to describe Nathanael’s character and where he was without even seeing him, “Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.” [John 1:49] This declaration became synonymous with belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour as noted by Philip’s witnessing to a man from Ethiopia, “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” [Acts 8:37]
The devil’s know him
Of further importance is the fact that the devil and his demons believed Jesus was the Son of God. Consider the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and the falsely veiled temptation from the devil upon approaching him. “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” [Matt. 4:3,6] A previous Bible study articulated how well known Jesus was by the devils so it was a certainty that the prince of devils knew full well who he was in the scriptures. Further evidence of this knowledge by the dark spirits of this world were documented in this scripture again giving full indication that Jesus was known to them, “And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? [Matt. 28:28-29]
Apostle John’s declaration
There is therefore substantial evidence and documentation in the Bible to support the eye witness accounts that Jesus Christ is the God’s Son. In fact, the entire gospel account from the apostle John was written for this very purpose as noted near the conclusion of his writings, “But these are written, 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] In John’s separate letters to the early churches he continued on with this mandate of making certain there was importance and prominence of this message for early believers. Note how John articulates the purpose of Jesus as the Son of God in this passage, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” [1 John 3:8]
As with Philip’s earlier witnessing to the lost, John was also one to ensure the right confession of faith was made as a heart changing, spiritually born from above message, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” [1 John 5:13] And to remove any doubt or ambiguity that the Son of God is the eternal God of the scriptures, John yet again gives support to this premise in this passage, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” [1 John 5:20] John continued to highlight this confession of Jesus as the Son of God and that a believer will dwell in him (1 John 4:15) and that as believers we are overcomers in the world (1 John 5:5).
Abiding in the Son
We have covered a lot of scriptural references and this is important to build a foundation of faith. Declaring someone in the scriptures as the Son of God is not some whimsical transient phrase that can be ascribed to anyone. It clearly belongs to one person only, the lamb of God (John 1:29), the good shepherd (John 10:11), and the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). As seekers of faith, you can know the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ by believing in his name (John 3:16) and you can have the assurance of everlasting life in him today.
The apostle Paul wrote some of the most memorable and encouraging verses in scripture and one of them describes how new life by faith works with the living Saviour dwelling in you, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” [Gal. 2:20] Christ living in you will bring you no greater joy this side of heaven and it can be yours today by believing in him by faith as the Son of God!
Bible Study Questions
- True or false, both the Son of God and the Son of man are titles that refer to Jesus Christ in the scriptures?
- Can the Son of man forgive sins? Hint Matt. 9:6
- Fill in the blanks from this verse, And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the ___________, the Son of the living _________. [ Matt. 16:16]
- In Acts 8:37, when Philip witnessed to a man, what is the most important word in the verse that starts with the letter B?
- What type of life is associated with believing in the Jesus Christ as God’s Son? Hint 1 John 5:13
- As a faith building exercise, try to remember Galatians 2:20 over the next week.
- If someone ever asks you who is the Son of God please consider sharing this Bible study with them?