Writers typically utilize three basic writing purposes in their pieces: inform, persuade and entertain. The purpose will determine how a piece is structured by its writer.
Jesus professed to be God’s son, fulfilling prophecies of Davidic Messiah prophecies. This caused great outrage from the High Priest who ordered Jesus’ crucifixion.
1. In the Old Testament
The Old Testament uses the term “son” a number of times in relation to human-divine relationships; moreover, it also carries with it connotations of deity (see Exodus 4:22; Hosea 11:1 and Jeremiah 31:20). Jesus himself called Himself God’s “Son,” affirming both his humanity and divinity simultaneously during His earthly ministry.
He was also King of Israel, which He gave new meaning to through His revolutionary ministry. Many of His early disciples expected a military ruler who would liberate them from Roman rule and destroy enemies like Psalm 110:1 or Daniel 7:13-14; in fact, some tried to kill Him because they couldn’t understand His teaching of Servant Messiahship: dying on their behalf while taking upon Himself their sins as promised in Psalms 110.
Jesus frequently quoted from the Old Testament in his teachings. For instance, during His Sermon on the Mount He cited Mosaic Law – then expanded it by including love of enemies. Furthermore when confronting crowds looking to stone an adulterous woman He quoted Old Testament Law yet extended mercy as part of an act which extended it further still.
In the Gospels, Son of God refers to a relationship between two individuals that transcends ordinary classification. Jesus first uses this expression when telling Nathanael He is “Son of God and King of Israel” (John 1:49), prompting Nathanael to interpret this as meaning that Jesus will deliver them from Roman rule while also establishing God’s rule over all nations.
That is also why Jewish leaders were so upset with Jesus – they knew He was making Himself equal with God! That would be sacrilege unless it was actually true! That is why Jesus’ title of Son of God is so critical – it helps us understand Him and His ministry better.
2. In the New Testament
The New Testament contains numerous references to Jesus as the Son of God, most frequently to emphasize His divinity and honor His life and ministry. But it can also apply to believers who have joined His family; furthermore, it refers to other individuals or events within Scripture as well.
Jesus (as) used the term ‘Son of God’ only occasionally when speaking about Himself or explaining His mission in the Gospels; often preferring instead terms like ‘Son of Man’ and ‘The Son’ which more closely fit Old Testament prophecies of Messiah or Davidic rulership.
Isaiah 7:14 tells us that the Messiah would be born of a virgin mother and would bear His name, Immanuel (meaning God with us), suggesting He will be divine. Therefore, his term ‘Son of God” could also apply here as it becomes clear he will indeed be divine.
Matthew 2:6 and the quotation from Micah 5:2 also make reference to Jesus being known as the Son of God – another clear claim to divinity since no human can claim such a title and still remain human.
In other instances, the term ‘Son of God’ refers to fallen angels who have abandoned their original domains and rebelled against God – such as Jude 6-7 where this idea of fallen angels is explored further. Jewish leaders sought to have Jesus (as) killed due to His teaching or implied teaching that made Him equal with Him and therefore justified their decision to kill Him as well.
In Revelations, Jesus is frequently referred to as the “Son of God.” A vision in Revelations describes One like an earthly son being presented before an ancient being as God and thus denoted as His son–making this title ‘Son of God” an important signpost of both his divinity and role as Savior.
3. In the Epistles
The Bible reserves the title “Son of God” exclusively for Jesus Christ. This concept stems from belief in a single, three-in-one god: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This concept should not be confused with references to individuals as “Sons or Children of God”, meaning individuals who have an undivided relationship with the Lord.
The Bible mentions “son of God” 10 times; five in each Testament. Most commonly it refers to Jesus Christ and his works here on Earth.
Jesus being known as the Son of God implies a special relationship between Himself and his Creator; also it highlights that he is more than human. Additionally, it serves to demonstrate that he is God’s chosen king who will bring salvation to humanity.
The Bible uses the phrase “son of God” to refer to other individuals, most often angels. For the first time this phrase appears in Job 1:6 and 2:1 when Satan and “sons of God” appeared before God as witnesses against Job. Although in Job’s initial use this term referred to angels, later passages used it more broadly when speaking of ordinary humans too.
Matthew 3:13 shows Jesus using the title Son of God to identify himself, asserting his equality with the creator. Jesus believes he can save humankind from sin and death through this relationship with him as their Saviour.
John 17:3 records Jesus praying for his followers to be united as one family, asking them to honor both Himself and the Father equally and love each other – an instruction directly from God that includes loving enemies! Additionally, we should remember that He forgives our sins even now and continues to forgive even as we break his commandments.
4. In the Prayers
The Son of God in the Bible refers to Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity. It appears throughout the New Testament and emphasizes his divine nature by depicting his relationship with his Father as well as emphasizing Jesus’ role as Messiah and Savior of humanity. Additionally, Epistles refer to this concept to explain Jesus’ work and teachings.
“Son of God” originally applied to angels or people; however, in the Bible it most frequently refers to Jesus Christ. This title of honor only belongs to someone directly involved with Creation itself – as evidenced by ten references to “Son of God” found within the Old Testament and over fifty in the New Testament alone.
In the New Testament, “Son of God” is used 41 times to refer to Jesus’ divine nature and role. This language serves to distinguish Him from other humans who were also called Sons of God (Genesis 6:2; Job 1:6; 2:1). Additionally, this terminology referred to Jesus’ miraculous birth, incarnation, resurrection and subsequent exaltation to right hand of Father as proof that He shares equal status with him – thus showing how they both exist equal within a divine hierarchy.
Jesus most prominently employed this title when praying. In John 17:1 and 20:21, He petitioned His Father to recognize Him as the Son of Man and King of Israel – titles which stressed His claim to glory while sounding more ordinary than Son of God.
When Jesus made his claims that he was the Son of God, his Jewish high priest was shocked. To him, Messiah should be an army leader that liberates Jewish slaves – not someone who dies to save sinners!