‘SON’ IS JESUS CHRIST, GOD IN A HUMAN BODY
Jesus Christ is the part of God’s trinity known as the ‘Son.’ He’s a human body with a divine soul and spirit – the one and only God-man – who came to earth about year zero (our calendars are numbered from the time of his arrival). He ascended to heaven 33 years later, living the entire time in a small area along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea known today as Israel.
He had the normal physical and mental characteristics of human beings, such a hunger and tired- ness, joy and sorrow. He wasn’t married and didn’t have any children. He was well known only during the last three years of his earthly life.
Before coming to earth in a human body, God told about himself (in Old Testament times) through special revelation to his spiritual spokesmen (Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, David, etc.). They prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth that God would come to earth in human flesh, and the prophesies were fulfilled in every amazing detail (see Topic 23).
Jesus is his name (like James or Robert). As a man, he was simply called Jesus of Nazareth (his home town). Christ is his title (Christos in Greek, meaning the one sent by God, the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament).
‘SON’ CAME BY HUMAN BIRTH TO A VIRGIN
Since it’s impossible for man to rise up to the level of God, it was necessary for God to come down to the level of man in order to relate with us.
He could have chosen any number of ways of coming ... for example, by descending from heaven as a full-grown powerful man, riding onto the scene in a chariot with fanfare and entourage. He chose instead to come into the world in the same way all humans do – as a baby born of a woman. His life was lived in a setting of ordinary circumstances rather than pomp and power.
He was born to a young Jewish woman (Mary) who was engaged to a young Jewish man (Joseph), but she’d never had sexual intercourse. God miraculously started the physical life of Jesus within her without normal conception. It’s very significant that Mary was a virgin because:
- Jesus was part man (human body from mother’s side)
- Jesus was part God (divine soul and spirit from father’s side)
- Because of his human body, he was able to live among us, communicate with us and die for us.
- Because of his divine soul and spirit, he was sinless and thus qualified to be our perfect substitute (see Topic 54).
- Mary is revered by Christians for being a wonderful person, chosen by God for the highest possible honor, but she wasn’t divine.
WHY GOD CALLS PART OF HIS TRINITY ‘SON’
The Bible sometimes refers to Jesus as ‘the Son of God’ and sometimes as ‘the son of man,’ but usually the Bible refers to him simply as the ‘Son.’ God apparently chose ‘Son’ as the one word to best describe the human part of his trinity because it’s a word everyone understands.
The word son helps portray the concept of a universal spiritual family, with the loving heavenly father, Jesus as the perfect son, and true Christians as adopted children (see Discovery 42). The concept of son has within it these ideas:
- son receives life from his father son is subordinate to his father
- son communicates and lives family values
- son is greatly loved by his father (the greatest sacrifice a father can make)
- son can be natural (like Jesus) or adopted (like us)
- son receives inheritance from his father (things of value the son hasn’t earned but gets by virtue of his family position)
‘FATHER’ SENT ‘SON’ TO SOLVE CRITICAL PROBLEM
Everything about God’s design plan is masterful, and his trinity is a masterful way of resolving the conflict between his character and our sin. (This conflict and solution is explained in detail in Topics 47-49 and 53-54.)
The problem: How can an infinite and holy God have an intimate relationship with a finite and sinful human?
God solved the problem with his trinity nature. With a special human body, God was able to communicate essential information to us. And with that body, he was able to make the once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins.
The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God, so we’re not confused wondering if there are other ones.
It doesn’t matter that God might have solved the conflict between his character and our sin in some other way, or even that we may wish he’d solve it some other way. The fact is, according to the Bible, this is the only way God has chosen to solve it.
Fortunately for us, God’s solution is very easy. We simply decide whether or not we want to be an adopted son or daughter in his family. If we decide by a conscious act of the will to personally accept Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for us (see Discovery 62), we get essentially the same standing in God’s family as Jesus himself! We don’t get into God’s family automatically, and therefore individual failure to act leaves a person on the outside (see Topic 51).
‘SON’ WAS CRUCIFIED AND RESURRECTED
Jesus Christ lived the first 28 years of his life in relative obscurity, mostly in the town of Nazareth in Israel. Then he entered the public scene, declaring himself the Son of God. For the next three years he engaged in a high-profile teaching and healing ministry in Israel, sometimes speaking to crowds of 5,000 or more people at a time. This caused the religious and civil authorities to fear that his enormous popularity would lead to an insurrection that would threaten their positions.
The authorities tried to persuade him to recant his statements about being the Son of God. He wouldn’t recant, and they decided to kill him.
Late one evening they arrested him, brought him into Jerusalem for an impromptu trial, beat him, and sentenced him to death. By 9:00 a.m. the next morning, before the people of the city knew what had happened, he was nailed to a cross and left hanging to die for six hours in excruciating pain as a public humiliation.
His dead body was placed in a borrowed tomb, but three days later it miraculously came alive again and eluded the Roman soldiers who were guarding it. After 40 days of personal teaching to over 500 people, Jesus ascended from his disciples’ sight into heaven with instructions that they should tell everyone what they had seen, heard and experienced (see Discoveries 55 and 90).
God knew that the clash of man’s sin and Jesus’ holiness would result in the death of his Son. It wasn’t a mistake. In fact, it was precisely as prophesied in the Bible long before it happened (see Topic 23). This was an essential part of God’s grand plan for us.
The importance of the death and resurrection of the Son of God is explained in Topic 55.
Here’s a sampling of what the Bible says on this subject.
Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-25
Angel tells Mary and Joseph about Jesus
Not all of God is in Jesus
Jesus is the Messiah the Old Testament said would come
Under questioning, with his life at stake, Jesus says he’s God
No one comes to the Father except through the Son
Matthew 11:27, Luke 10:12
Father has committed (delegated) everything pertaining to this world to the Son
God gave us the Son so we can have eternal life
Ephesians 1:5-10, Romans 8:22-23
Through the Son, we can be adopted into God’s family
We become heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ
God formerly spoke through the prophets, but now he’s spoken through the Son
Matthew 26:1-28:20, Mark 14:1-16:20, Luke 22:1-24:53, John 18:1-21:25
Trial, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ
For help, see Topic 29.