Who did Jesus Christ Himself claim to be (according to the following passages)? And what is so unique about His claim in comparison to all the other great world’s religious leaders, such as Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius, Zoroaster, etc.?
Lk. 22:70 (Mk. 14:61; Matt. 26:63-64) What was Jesus’ reply to the council of the elders’ question as to whether He was the Son of God?
Matt. 27:43 What did the chief priests, scribes, and elders quote Jesus as having said about Himself?
[The phrase, “Son of God”, as used by Jesus Christ or in reference to Christ in His relationship to God is used in a very special sense, as that of a “unique” Son of God. In Jn. 3:16, 18; 1 Jn. 4:9 the word “begotten” means a unique, unoriginated relationship; an eternal relationship; one Who represents the Being and character of God – Jn. 1:14.
Besides the normal, customary uses of the word “son” (Heb. “ben” and Gk. “huios”) meaning “male offspring” or “descendant” (rather than immediate offspring), the word “son” can be/is used idiomatically and figuratively (Dr. Larry Richards, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, p. 572).
An idiom is an expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar in having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meaning of its elements (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, p. 563).
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or similarity between them. For example, the ship “plows” the sea (Webster’s, p. 716). A quality or name is attributed to something to which it is not literally applicable (e.g., an “icy” glance, nerves of “steel”) – (New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language, p. 628).
“Son of” indicates that the person or thing so described stands in some relation to the object mentioned after the phrase “son of”. That relation may be one of quality, resemblance, derivation, destiny, etc. (Dr. William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary – Luke, p. 587).
Characteristics of persons or groups, or a spiritual relationship can be/are expressed by the phrase “son of” (Richards, p. 572).
“Son” is often used metaphorically of prominent moral characteristics, or to describe characteristics other than moral (W. Vine, Drs. M. Unger, and W. White, An Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, New Testament, p. 1060).
Basically then the phrase “son(s) of” means that the person (people) is (are) similar to or like (in some way) the object/person he (they) are/is the “son(s) of”.
First then, what does “sons of God” mean? Depending upon the context, it has different meanings.
In Genesis 6:2, 4 “sons of God” refers to heavenly beings or angels. The Hebrew expression “bene Elohim” is used consistently of angels in the Old Testament (e.g., Job 1:6; 2:1), of fallen angels (1 Ki. 22:19-23; 1 Sam. 16:14-16, 21-23) that can possess human bodies as can good angels (Gen. 19:1, 5) and can therefore have sexual relations in marriage (Matt. 22:30 doesn’t nullify this argument, since it only deals with bodiless angels of God in heaven); it’s the best or only way of accounting for the Nephilim (“gigantes” of mixed human and angelic birth, from the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament); and it’s the only exegesis/interpretation of the breaking down of God-ordained orders of angels found in such passages as 2 Pet. 2:4-5 and Jude 1:6, that will satisfy its scope (Unger’s Bible Handbook, p. 48).
In light of the facts and the accurate rendering of the words of the text, we conclude that these “sons of God” were men of the heavenly group/angels or messengers (Drs. C. Pfeiffer & E. Harrison, The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p. 12). The “sons of God” were not divine but demon-controlled (Drs. J. Walvoord and R. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, p. 36).
In the New Testament, “sons of God” or “children of God” (e.g., Rom. 8:14, 16; 3:25-26; 4:5-7; Jn. 1:12-13; 11:52; 1 Jn. 3:1-2) means believers in Jesus Christ as Savior/Messiah, as seen from the context of these passages (also Walvoord and Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 601).
In Lk. 20:36 “sons of God” means like God being immortal (Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary – Luke, p. 906, Drs. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 1019).
Primarily, “the Son of God” is a title expressing the deity of the Lord Jesus as distinguished from His humanity – Jn. 10:33, 36; Rom. 8:3 (Unger’s Bible Dictionary, p. 581).
Though the title “Son of God” can refer to a relationship (e.g., Lk. 1:32, 35; Acts 13:33 – Jesus’ miraculous conception), it is usually used of an expression of character (e.g., Matt. 14:33; 16:16; 27:54; Jn. 1:49), meaning God in human form (Jn. 14:9; Heb. 1:3). Thus, absolute Godhead is intended in the title (Vine, Unger, and White, An Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, New Testament, p. 1061). In the timeless past, God the Father and God the Son existed in a relationship of absolute Deity and love – Jn. 1:1, 14, 18; 3:16; 17:5, 24; Gal. 4:4 (Vine, Unger, and White, An Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, New Testament, p. 1062). Jesus Christ is uniquely “the Son of God.” (Jn. 1:1, 14-18; 3:16; Matt. 11:27; Col. 2:9). He is like God in divine nature, all divine attributes (e.g., Jn. 8:58; 14:6; Rev. 1:8 with 1:17, 18; 22:12-16, 20; Eph. 1:20-22; 4:10; Col. 2:2, 3; Heb. 13:8; 1 Jn. 2:1) and, in fact, is God (Jn. 10:30, 33; 5:18; 14:9; Phil. 2:5-7). The title “Son of God” also had “messianic” associations, as seen in Jn. 11:27. In Hellenistic Christianity the “Son” of the Palestinian Jewish tradition was regarded as the “copy” of the invisible God – Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3 (Colin Brown, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. 3, p. 647). So, for Jesus to be called “the Son of God” was to say He was God (Jn. 10:33, 36).].
Jn. 5:18 What did Jesus call God?
What did stating this claim make Jesus (or what did it mean)?
How do you know (Lev. 24:16)?
[“Blasphemy” is giving the attributes of God to a creature – which is what the Jews accused Jesus of doing. The Jews from ancient times have interpreted the command of Lev. 24:16, as prohibiting the utterance of the name “Jehovah” (Lord or Self-existent One) and reading for it “Adonai” (Master) or “Elohim” (God or one supreme deity or Creator). Blasphemy can also mean attributing some evil to God or denying Him some good which we should attribute to Him – Lev. 24:11; Rom. 2:24.].
Jn. 8:58 What is Jesus’ answer to both of the questions asked in Jn. 8:53, 57?
[Jesus’ response not only reaffirmed His eternal, timeless, absolute essence, which is an attribute that only God has, but also identified Him as being one in essence with Jehovah God of the Old Testament, Who also said that He is “I Am” – Ex. 3:13-14). He designated Himself by this name as absolute God (“I AM”).].
Jn. 10:30-38 Who did Jesus say He is in Jn. 10:30?
[The word “one” (“ev” in Greek), which was the original language that the New Testament was written in, means “one in inner essence or substance” – see Jn. 1:1, 14, 18; 5:18). Jesus was one in omnipotence with God the Father, Jn. 10:28-29; no one could snatch believers from either one.].
Why did the Jews take up stones to stone Jesus (Lev. 24:16 and see Jn. 5:18 note)?
And what did they say Jesus made Himself out to be?
What were Jesus’ blasphemous words (Jn. 10:36)?
[The Old Testament Law called certain men gods. It used this title with reference to human rulers or judges (Psa. 82: 1-2, 6; 2 Chron. 19:6; Ex. 22:8), because they represented divine justice, as they were invested with a certain divinity of status as His representatives; and the Word of God had come to them, and Scripture is absolutely indestructible – inspired, infallible, and authoritative – it can’t be broken (has no errors). Jesus, on the other hand, is Himself the Word of God – Jn. 1:1, 14, 18. Though the Judges had an important task, Jesus even more so, because He was sanctified (set apart by/for God) and sent into the world to be the Savior. Therefore, if these Jews didn’t protest when “human” judges were called gods (because they functioned as rulers, administrators of God’s justice), why should they protest and say Jesus is blaspheming when He says that He is (God the Son or) the Son of God, Jn. 10:36 – especially since He qualified, as demonstrated through His miraculous birth, perfect life, miracles, and fulfillment of scores of prophesies?].
What else did Jesus say to describe His relationship to God the Father (Jn. 10:38)?
[There is identity of works, for there is one essence/being.].
Phil. 2:5-6 What was Jesus Christ’s attitude or thoughts regarding His standing with or relationship to God, the Father?
[Though Jesus was God, He didn’t regard His equality with God the Father and the splendors of being in heaven in the fullness of His glory a thing to be grasped/held on to, but was willing to come to earth in the form of a man.].
Jn. 14:9-10 What did Jesus tell Philip about seeing Himself and the Father?
[Jesus is the visible representation or expression (Heb. 1:1-3) of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). Jesus is God in a human body and thereby expresses the very nature of God; His essence and glory in bodily form].
Matt. 16:13-17 When Jesus asked His disciples who people thought He, the Son of Man, is, what was their reply, especially Peter’s reply (Matt. 16:16)?
Did Jesus agree with Peter’s reply?
If so, how?
[As we saw in the footnote under Matt. 27:43, to say that you are the Son of God is, to say that you are God; Jn. 10:33, 36].
Matt. 11:25-27 What did Jesus call the Lord of heaven and earth?
[Remember that even Jesus’ enemies interpreted this to mean that He was claiming equality with God – Jn. 5:18; 10:30, 33, 36, 38.].
Who does Jesus say by His relationship to God, He is (Matt. 11:27)?
[The fact that the word “Son” is now used instead of “Me”, shows that what is being revealed here is the inner relation between Father and Son, a relation that existed from all eternity – Jn. 1:1, 14.].
What exclusive relationship do they have?
[“To know” (epignosis) here means experientially knows or thoroughly knows. A higher claim to equality with God cannot be conceived.].
Mk. 10:32-34 In explaining to His disciples what was going to happen to Him, what did Jesus call Himself (Mk. 10:33)?
[The phrase “Son of Man” is a term like the “Son of God” which is now theologically chiefly associated with Christ in both the Old and New Testaments. Christ employed this expression to designate Himself some 80 times. It portrays Him as the Representative Man. Its primary significance is that of His perfect humanity, from heaven – 1 Cor. 15:47. The “Son of Man: is thus our Lord’s racial name – Matt. 9:6, as the “Son of David” is distinctly His Jewish name – Matt. 1:1, and the “Son of God” His divine name – Matt. 8:29. This term, “Son of Man” is uniformly used of Christ in connection with His mission – Lk. 19:10, death and resurrection, and His second coming – Matt. 24:37-44. The term also implies that in Jesus the Old Testament prophetic blessings centering in the coming Man are to find their fulfillment – Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7].
GREEK GRAMMAR and the DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST
The New Testament in its English translation plainly teaches that Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Triune God, possessing the same essence as God the Father. It is interesting to know that a rule of Greek grammar brings out the same truth. The rule is as follows: When two nouns in the same case (e.g., nominative case or the case showing it’s the subject of the sentence) are connected by the Greek word (for the English word) “and”, and the first noun is preceded by the article “the”, and the second noun is not preceded by the article, the second noun refers to the same person or thing to which the first noun refers, and is a further description of it.
In 2 Pet. 1:1 the expression, “God and our Savior Jesus Christ”, where the same construction occurs, and the same rule of grammar applies. Solid ground for correct translation and interpretation is found in a careful application of the rules of Greek grammar. The inspired writers of the New Testament held to the grammar of the international Greek spoken throughout the Roman world. Only in that way could they expect to be correctly understood. Thus, Greek grammar testifies that Jesus Christ is Lord, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and Deity, the God of the New Testament. The apostles uniformly testify that Jesus Christ is God, and this is just another example of their statements challenging the Imperial Cult of the Caesar. The translation should read, “through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ”. The Roman emperor was recognized by his subjects as their god and their savior. Peter tells us that Jesus Christ is the God and the Savior of Christians.
In Titus 2:13 we have “the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ”. We find the same construction in the Greek, and the same rule of grammar requires us to interpret the phrase as teaching that Jesus Christ is the great God.
– Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, vol. 3, pp. 31-33.
Who did others say Jesus Christ is (according to the following passages)? And what is so unique about their claims in comparison to what the people during the life of other great world’s religious leaders said about their religious leader at that time?
Matt. 1:23 What did Matthew (one of Jesus’ disciples), who was quoting a prophecy of from Isaiah 7:14, say about the meaning of Jesus’ name, “Immanuel”?
So Who was with the human race in the Person of this new child when He was born?
Matt. 14:22, 33 Who worshiped Jesus, and about what were they certain?
Mk. 5:2, 6-8 What was the unclean spirit’s (demon’s) thoughts as to Whom Jesus is (Mk. 5:7)?
Mk. 15:39 Who did the Roman centurion think that Jesus truly was?
Jn. 11:27 Who did Martha believe that Jesus is?
Jn. 19:7 Who did the Jews understand Jesus to make Himself out to be?
[Son of God equals God, Jn. 10:33, 36].
Jn. 20:25-28 Who did Thomas (the one doubting disciple of Jesus) exclaim Jesus to be?
Col. 2:9 Who does Paul (who met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus – Acts 9:5) say Jesus Christ is?
What does this mean (see Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:1-3 for help)?
Heb. 1:8-9 Who does God, the Father say Jesus, His Son is?
[Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man – though without sin – and as such, God, the Father is the God of the man, Jesus.].
1 Jn. 5:20 What does John call Jesus?
What did Jesus claim about Himself, through exposing Himself with this question (according to the following passage)?
And what is so unique about Jesus’ question and its implicated claim, especially in light of the people’s failure to answer it?
And how does this compare to what other great world’s religious leaders said about themselves in this same area?
Jn. 8:46 What question did Jesus ask of His Jewish opponents (Jn. 8:44, 47), while also in the presence of new believers (Jn. 8:30-31), and His disciples (Jn. 9:2)?
What was His audience’s response to that question (Jn. 8:48)?
[If you had asked that question in the midst of a group of enemies, new friends, and close friends, would any of those people have been able to find sin in your life? Can you see how these people’s inability to find and state any sin in Jesus’ life confirms His claim to sinlessness?]
What did others state about Jesus (according to the following passages)? And what is so unique about their claims in comparison to the claims of those who knew the other great world’s religious leaders?
2 Cor. 5:21 What does Paul say that Christ didn’t know (by personal experience, that is, having never personally committed any)?
Heb. 4:15 Though Jesus has been tempted in all things (in all respects or every form of testing) as we are, what was true of Him?
1 Pet. 2:22 What does Peter, in quoting Isaiah, say about Christ?
1 Jn. 3:5 What does John say that was in Jesus Christ?
What attributes (that which God has in any way revealed as being true of Himself or simply, just how God is) does Jesus Christ have that are true only of God (in the following passages)?
Jn. 1:1-2, 14, 18 When was the Word – Jesus Christ – already in existence?
[“In the beginning” means beyond the beginning of creation in time to eternity – see Jn. 17:5, 24.]
Jn. 8:58 When did Jesus say that He was already in existence?
[“I Am” is in the present indicative tense. The thought conveyed is not only that Jesus was already in existence by this time – Col. 1:17 – but also that His existence transcends time.].
Micah 5:2 (Lk. 2:4-11) When were Jesus’ goings forth from?
Rev. 22:13 (Rev. 22:12, 16, 20; 1:8, 17-18) Who is Jesus?
[The three pairs of titles given all connote the same truth, that Christ is the beginning and source of all things as well as the goal and consummation of all, in a word, the eternal God.].
Isa. 9:6 [“Father” in Hebrew here means “possessor or source of”].
Heb. 13:8 What change or varying is there in the Person of Jesus Christ?
Heb. 1:10-12 (Heb. 1:8; Col. 1:16) Though the earth and heavens will change, what does it say is true of the Lord Jesus (Heb. 1:12)?
Rev. 1:8 (Rev. 22:12-16, 20; Matt. 16:27) The Lord God is called the Alpha and Omega and Jesus is called the Alpha and Omega. What else is said of Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come?
Heb. 1:3 How does Jesus uphold all things?
Phil. 3:20-21 By what is Jesus Christ able both to transform our mortal body into an immortal body like His, as well as subject all things to Himself?
Col. 2:2-3 What is hidden in Christ?
Jn. 16:30 What did Jesus’ disciples now know, and by what did they come to believe that Jesus came from God?
Jn. 21:17 What did Peter say to the Lord Jesus?
Col. 3:11 Why is there no distinction between Christians that are of various ethnic, religious, cultural, or social backgrounds?
[“is all and in all” means that Christ as the all-sufficient Lord and Savior is all that matters, and that He indwells all believers – Jn. 14:23].
Eph. 1:20-23; 4:10 What does Christ fill?
[“fills all in all” means that Christ fills with His presence and power all the universe in all respects or with all that it contains and needs].
Jn. 14:6 Besides being the way and the life, what else is Christ?
Jn. 1:14 Besides “grace”, with what other attribute is Jesus filled?
[“truth” is what is real, correct, right, or honest].
Lk. 1:35 What kind of offspring was Jesus, that He was to be called the Son of God?
Jn. 6:69 What did Jesus’ closest disciples come to believe about Who Jesus is?
Mk. 1:24 Who did a demon-possessed man recognize Jesus as?
1 Jn. 2:1 Besides being an Advocate, what else is Jesus called here?
1 Pet. 3:18 What is Christ designated as, especially in relation to His dying for the unjust?
Jn. 14:6 Besides being the way and the truth, what else is Jesus?
Jn. 11:25; 1:4 What is Jesus called here?
In what ways is Jesus Christ identified in equality with God the Father (according to the following passages)? And what is so unique about Jesus’ identification in equality with God in these areas in comparison to all the other great world’s religious leaders?
Matt. 2:2; 8:2; 14:22, 33; 28:9, 17 Who did what in common to Jesus in these passages?
Matt. 4:10 Who does Jesus say is the only one that should be worshiped?
[In light of Matt. 4:10 and the other passages, and the fact that Jesus didn’t reject or turn away this worship from Himself, what does this tell us as to whom Jesus identified Himself in equality with?]
Jn. 5:22-23 Why did God the Father give His Son, Jesus, all judgment?
To what extent are all to honor the Son?
Lk. 5.20-24 What can God alone do?
What did Jesus do and claim to have the authority to do?
[If God alone can forgive sins and Jesus forgave people their sins, and demonstrated His authority through performing miracles, Who does this tell us that Jesus must be – stand in equality with?]
Col. 1:13-16 How many things and where did Jesus create?
Gen. 1:1-25 Who does it say created the heavens and the earth and the things in them?
[If God created these things in the book of Genesis and it says that Jesus did in Colossians, Who must Jesus be?]
Matt. 28:19 As Christians go and make disciples/converts, they are to do so in what?
[“name” is singular, yet the Persons are plural: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, showing they’re one in Being.].
Jn. 16:15; 17:10; Matt. 11:27 What does Jesus possess or own?
Col. 1:19; 2:9; Jn. 1:14 What dwelt in the human being, Jesus?
Acts 17:30-31; 1 Thes. 1:9-10 Who raised Jesus from the dead?
Jn. 2:19-21 Who said He would raise Jesus from the dead?
[Since God raised up Jesus from the dead and Jesus raised Himself up from the dead, what does this tell you Who Jesus is?]
“Lord” – The Greek word “kurios” when used in reference to Jehovah or Jesus Christ means “Supreme One”.
“Jesus” – The Greek word “Iesous” is a transliteration of the Hebrew word “Joshua” meaning “Jehovah is salvation” or “Savior/Deliverer” (Matt. 1:21).
“Christ” – The Greek word “Christos” means “anointed”, and in Hebrew is the word Messiah (“mashiach”), also meaning “anointed one”. The Old Testament Scriptures portray the coming Christ/Messiah as a king/Prince (Dan. 9:25-26; 7:13-14; Zech. 9:9-10) who is both God Himself (Psa. 45:6-7; Isa. 7:14 with Matt. 1:23; Isa. 9:6; Jer. 23:5-6) and God’s (Yahweh’s/Jehovah’s) Son (Psa. 2:7; 89:27; Mk. 14:61-64), but who is also a Servant (Isa. 42:1) and Redeemer/Savior (Isa. 53:1-12).
In the New Testament, Jesus is seen as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prediction of the Messiah/Christ (Mk. 8:29; Jn. 1:29, 36, 41; 4:25-26; Acts 2:36).