|Vol. 16 No. 11 November 2014||
Gary C. Hampton
The Word Was God
Today, someone’s son is simply his male descendant or one he has adopted to fill that role. However, Jesus was called the Son of God for another reason. To be sure, He was God’s Son by birth (Luke 1:34-35), but the title “Son of God” most often refers to Jesus being of the same nature as God. When Jesus called God His Father, the Jews understood that He was claiming to be God (John 5:17-24).
John, in his account of the life of Christ, told us Jesus was God come down to earth. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1-3). John said that the Word was with God at the beginning and was God. That all things were made by Him is proof that He is God, since God was the Creator (Genesis 1:1; cf. Colossians 1:16-17). This Word, that was God, John plainly showed to be Jesus (John 1:14).
Jesus’ Deity Was Confirmed by the Father
On two separate occasions, the Father testified to Jesus’ Sonship. After Jesus’ baptism, “a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” On the mount of transfiguration, after Peter suggested making tabernacles for Moses, Elijah and Jesus, “a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’” (Matthew 3:13-17; 17:1-5). As we have already seen, the Jews clearly understood that Jesus being the Son of God made Him partake of God’s very nature, in other words, the Father was saying Jesus is God!
The writer of Hebrews also showed us that the Father thought of Jesus as God. “Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). Vine indicates this means that Jesus was the shining forth of God’s glory and the very image of His substance. In verse 8, the Hebrews writer quoted Psalm 45:6-7, and said that God, the Father, called Jesus God.
John the Baptist and Paul Attest to His Sonship
John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way of the Lord, God (John 1:23; Isaiah 40:3). Jesus understood Malachi 3:1 to refer to John the Baptist (Matthew 11:7-10). By looking back to Malachi 2:17, we can see that this Lord, whose way he was to prepare, was the God of Judgment. By inspiration, John told us whose way he came to prepare (John 1:29-34). It was Jesus, the Son of God.
Paul also believed Jesus was God come down to earth. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7). Expressed in other words, Paul was saying Jesus existed as the very essence of God, just as He took on the very essence of a servant by becoming a man (Hebrews 2:9-18).
Jesus’ Miracles Prove He Is Divine
As proof of His divinity, Jesus cited His miracles (John 5:36). Nicodemus had seen those miracles and knew they were proof Jesus was from God (John 3:2). John said the reason he made record of those miracles our Lord performed was that we might believe Jesus is God’s Son (John 20:30-31). Jesus was able to turn water into wine (John 2:1-11), heal the son of a nobleman (John 4:43-54) and heal a man who had been sick for 38 years (John 5:1-9) just prior to citing His miracles as proof that He is God.
Later, He raised the son of the widow of Nain, Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus from the dead (Luke 7:11-17; 8:40-56; John 11:1-46). The Pharisees recognized a special power was behind Jesus’ miracles, so they attributed them to the power of the devil (Matthew 12:22-30). Jesus showed them that Satan would be working against himself if he cast out devils. Therefore, the power had to be from God.
Jesus, the Fulfillment of Prophecy
As another proof of His divinity, Jesus turned to the prophecy of Old Testament Scripture (John 5:39). Our Lord was born of a virgin, thus fulfilling the great prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 (Matthew 1:18-25). He was also uniquely the seed of woman and, as such, completed God’s promise in dealing a mortal wound to the head of Satan by dying on Calvary and being raised the third day (Genesis 3:15). As Micah foretold, our Lord was born in the city of David, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1). Through Him, as the seed, singular, of Abraham, God blessed the heathen nations by giving them a means of salvation (Genesis 22:15-18; Galatians 3:8, 14, 16). Numerous other events in His life, such as the betrayal by Judas and the sayings on the cross, were prophecies plainly completed in the life of our magnificent Lord.
The Empty Tomb’s Powerful Testimony
In his great Pentecost sermon, Peter stated, without successful contradiction from anyone, that God had raised Jesus from the dead. The religious leaders of the Jews would have liked nothing better than to have thrown a lifeless body down at the apostle’s feet, thereby crushing the fledgling church before it got started, but they could not! In fact, they had paid the guards to testify they saw Jesus’ followers take the body while they slept! The absurdity of that position is best demonstrated in the obedient response of some three thousand souls to Peter’s declaration that Jesus had been made both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:14-41; Matthew 28:11-15).
Paul, in writing to the church at Rome, said he had been separated by God to preach the Gospel of Christ. Among other things, he proclaimed Jesus as the son of David, just as had been promised by the prophets. “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:1-4). The witnesses to the Lord’s resurrection are so numerous as to make it an irrefutable and well established fact in any court of law. What other incident has ever had over five hundred confident witnesses, among whom was at least one who before had violently opposed the preaching of Jesus as the Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-11)? Truly, Jesus is the Son of God, as the empty tomb shouts even today!