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Monday, May 4, 2009

Was Jesus Really the Son of God?

WITH deep conviction the apostle Peter said to Jesus: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) This is but one of many references in the Bible to Jesus as the Son of God, an expression that has stirred a wide range of responses among the religiously inclined.

Many who believe that Jesus Christ is God have difficulty explaining why he is called the Son of God. Logic suggests that he cannot be both. Others think of Jesus as an important historical character, a wise man, or perhaps even a bona fide prophet of God, but nothing more. What does the Bible really teach? Does it matter what you believe?

God’s Firstborn

The Bible indicates that there was a time when God was alone. In his love he decided to share the gift of life by becoming a father—but not in the human sense. Rather, Jehovah used his unfathomable creative power to form a living, intelligent spirit person—“the beginning of the creation by God,” whom we now know as Jesus Christ. (Revelation 3:14; Proverbs 8:22) Because Jesus was directly created by God when God was all alone, Jesus is rightly called the “only-begotten son” and “the firstborn of all creation.”—John 1:14; Colossians 1:15.

Clearly, then, as the very first of God’s creations, Jesus could not be the Creator, “the only God.” (1 Timothy 1:17) On the other hand, God granted his Son many privileges. For example, through Jesus, God created “all other things,” including even the angels. These angels are referred to as “sons of God”—Jehovah being their Life-Giver as well.—Colossians 1:16; Job 1:6; 38:7.

After preparing the earth for human habitation, God, apparently speaking to his firstborn Son, said: “Let us make man in our image.” (Genesis 1:26; Proverbs 8:22-31) Thus, Jehovah also created the first human son of God, Adam, through the spirit creature who would become Jesus.—Luke 3:38.

Jesus Becomes a Human Son of God

The apostle John reveals that at the appointed time, God’s spirit Son “became flesh and resided among us.” (John 1:14) In order to accomplish this change in Jesus’ nature, God miraculously transferred Jesus’ life from heaven into the womb of the Jewish virgin girl Mary. In that way Jesus remained God’s Son, even though a human. Furthermore, since God, not any man, gave Jesus life, Jesus was born perfect, without sin. “What is born will be called holy, God’s Son,” said the angel Gabriel to Mary.—Luke 1:35; Hebrews 7:26.

A confirmation of Jesus’ sonship while in the flesh came from the Father himself. At the time of Jesus’ baptism, John the Baptizer witnessed the heavens open up and heard a voice from heaven say: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” (Matthew 3:16, 17) No wonder John told his disciples: “I have seen it, and I have borne witness that this one is the Son of God.”—John 1:34.

During his earthly ministry, Jesus did not trumpet the fact that he was the Messiah, the Son of God. (Mark 8:29, 30) He often allowed people to draw that conclusion for themselves by listening to his teachings, by observing his way of life, and by witnessing his many miracles, most of which were performed in public view. For example, he cured “all those faring badly, distressed with various diseases and torments.” (Matthew 4:24, 25; 7:28, 29; 12:15) The blind, the deaf, the lame, and the diseased all came to Jesus, and he healed them. He even raised the dead! (Matthew 11:4-6) Before the eyes of his disciples, Jesus miraculously walked on water and calmed the winds and waves during a fierce storm. This display of power moved the disciples to say: “You are really God’s Son.”—Matthew 14:24-33.

How God’s Son Can Benefit You

Additional Reading:

Why did God transfer his only-begotten Son from heaven to earth, there ultimately to die a cruel death? “In order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Yes, only by dying could Jesus “give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Truly, in all history, no one has shown greater love for humankind than Jehovah and his firstborn Son.—Romans 8:32.

Following his death Jesus “was declared God’s Son” in a very special and powerful way, “by means of resurrection from the dead” back to life as a spirit Son of God. (Romans 1:4; 1 Peter 3:18) Then, after waiting patiently at his Father’s side for almost 19 centuries, Jesus was enthroned as King of God’s Kingdom—a heavenly government that will soon rule over the entire earth.—Psalm 2:7, 8; Daniel 7:13, 14.

Do you want to gain the favor of this mighty Son of God? If so, then we encourage you to look into his teachings and apply them in your life. Jesus himself said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Yes, what one believes about the Son of God really does matter!—John 3:18; 14:6; 1 Timothy 6:19.

- Publised by the WTB&TS, 2006