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Jesus as the Son of God

  • Page ID
    20261
  • Anna Mullek

    April 16, 2019

    The Catholic faith believes in the Trinity, a difficult concept that states God is the Father, Jesus is the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all one being. This abstract concept is hard to grasp because it states that there are three persons in one, all different yet the same. This paper will explore how Jesus was deemed Son of God in Luke, Matthew, and Hebrews. Luke 1-4 explains who Jesus is and what he will accomplish as the Son of God, Matthew demonstrates why Jesus is the Son of God through his physical actions, and Jesus is titled the Son of God in Hebrews by coming down from heaven in atonement for people’s sins.

    The first four chapters of Luke share who and what Jesus is as Luke provides an orderly, detailed description of how Jesus was conceived, born, and lived. Luke allows others to identify Jesus as the Son of God, along with Jesus self-identifying as the Son of God. To start from the beginning of the book and Jesus’ life, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, “Now you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:31-32). The angel gave Jesus his identity of the Son of God before he is even conceived. After his conception, Mary travels to visit her cousin Elizabeth who states, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Any why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?” (Luke 1:42-43). Elizabeth says this after her “child in [her] womb leaped for joy” (Luke 1:44). Elizabeth indirectly states that Jesus is the Son of God because Mary is the mother of her Lord.

    Chronologically following Jesus’ birth, Jesus’ actions further explain why he was given the title Son of God. As a child, Jesus strayed from his parents, Mary and Joseph, and went to the temple in Jerusalem. After his parents anxiously searched for him, Jesus asked them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). Here Jesus directly identifies himself as the Son of God. Jesus again self-identifies as the Son of God, or at minimum, God’s chosen one, at a later date in the Nazareth synagogue where he had been brought up. Being given a scroll from Isaiah, he reads, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18). After gaining everyone’s attention, Jesus states, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). This is a clear message from Jesus self-identifying as God’s chosen one in his adult years. When Jesus shares that the Spirit of the Lord is upon him in Luke 4:18, he is confirming how he was conceived through the Holy Spirit in Luke 1:31 when the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary.

    Jesus also identifies himself as the Son of God in Matthew. God reveals Jesus’ identity and role when Jesus states, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father … and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matthew 11:27). Jesus further identifies himself as the Son of God when he responds to the Pharisees who were scolding his disciples for plucking grain on the sabbath. Jesus states, “If you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath” (Matthew 12:7-8). Jesus identified as the Son of God with God’s mercy determining observance. Both of Jesus’ sayings identify him as the Son of God, specifically through his actions.

    Jesus’ actions in Matthew also allow others to give him the title Son of God. The story of Jesus walking on water demonstrates how Jesus’ actions lead to his title of being the Son of God. When the disciples became fearful of a windy storm, Jesus questioned why they doubted him. Once everyone had gotten back into the boat, the wind ceased, “and those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’” (Matthew 14:33). The disciples realized that God calmed the storm, so therefore Jesus must actually be the Son of God. Matthew later reiterates how Jesus is the Son of God with Peter proclaiming: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” in the district of Caesarea Philippi (16:16). Peter’s statement reflects how the disciples understand that Jesus is God’s agent on Earth to manifest God’s presence. Jesus’ physical actions throughout Matthew explain why others use his given title, the Son of God.

    Jesus’ actions in Hebrews also show how he came down from heaven in atonement for people’s sins. The beginning of Hebrews addresses how God previously revealed information to the prophets, but “in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds” (1:2). This is a central affirmation of the deity of Jesus Christ, specifically as the Son of God. Jesus’ presence on Earth for the atonement of sins is explained by continuing with “when he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs” (Hebrews 1:3-4). The superiority of the Son is established by the Old Testament quote, “For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you’?” (Hebrews 1:5). This also identifies the Messiah, Jesus, as the Son of God. Therefore Jesus’ title was given to him because he came down from heaven to forgive sins.

    Jesus is again described as the Son of God because of his return from heaven to forgive sins with Hebrews: “Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession” (4:14). The wording “passed through the heavens” referencing Jesus’ ascension into heaven combined with stating “Jesus, Son of God,” clearly portrays why he was given this title. Jesus is also referred to as the Son of God in Hebrews: “Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you … You are a priest forever’” (Hebrews 5:5-6). This explains how just as a high priest must be called upon by God, Jesus was appointed to be a high priest by God. In Hebrews 2, Jesus must become human in order to anoint others. This reinforces that Jesus is given the title Son of God for the atonement of sins.

    Though the entire Trinity is not explained, the books Luke, Matthew and Hebrews all explain the different reasons for why Jesus is given the title Son of God. Specifically, Luke 1-4 explains who Jesus is and what he will accomplish as the Son of God, Matthew demonstrates why Jesus is the Son of God through his physical actions, and Jesus is titled the Son of God in Hebrews by coming down from heaven in atonement for people’s sins.

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