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Is Jesus Really the Son of God?

On one occasion, when Jesus was with His disciples in the region of Caesarea Philippi, “He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ (Matthew 16:13-15).

Just as in the days of Christ, it seems that everyone today has an opinion about Jesus. Some wish Him away by claiming that He never existed. However, the historical evidence proves that He did exist. Some claim that He was a prophet of God and a good man, while others claim that He was a liar and a troublemaker. Christians believe that He is the Son of God, and claim Him as their Lord and Savior.

After asking what others were saying about Him, Jesus got to the heart of the matter with His disciples and asked them what they believed about Him. Nothing else really mattered then, and the same thing is true today. Regardless of the differing opinions of men, the only question that really matters is what I personally believe about Jesus.

The religion of Christ requires that I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. However, this requirement is not made without the provision of ample evidence upon which to base my belief. I must walk by faith, but I am not required to make a leap of faith. My acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God does not rest upon gut feelings, personal opinions, family traditions, or social customs. My faith in the identity of Jesus as the Son of God is based upon evidence.

In this article, we will consider some of the evidence that proves that Jesus is the Son of God.

1. The Way Jesus Spoke

There was something about the way that Jesus spoke that made Him different from the other teachers of His day. On one occasion, the enemies of Jesus sent officers to arrest Him. They came back empty handed. When they were asked to explain their failure to take Jesus into custody, they responded, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (John 7:32, 45-46).

Matthew explains that the thing which made Jesus different from the other teachers of His day was that He spoke with authority. “And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29). The scribes and rabbis quoted Scripture to authorize their message. Jesus spoke as if His words were Scripture. Simply put, Jesus spoke as God Himself would speak.

2. The Claims That Jesus Made

Some of the most significant things that Jesus said were the claims that He made about Himself.

  • Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. “The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When He comes, He will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He’ (John 4:25-26).
  • Jesus claimed to be equal with God. “But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’ Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:17-18).
  • Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. “Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of God?’ He answered and said, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you’” (John 9:35-37).
  • Jesus claimed the power to forgive sins. “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you’” (Mark 2:5).

These claims that Jesus made were not mistaken by His enemies. He was ultimately killed because of them. However, even under the threat of death, Jesus never retracted any of His claims.

3. Jesus Performed Miracles to Support His Claims

Jesus was not the first person, nor would He be the last, to claim to be the Son of God, but He was the first and only person to back up such a claim with miracles.

In Mark chapter two, when He forgave the sins of the paralytic, He performed a miracle of healing to support His claim that He had the power on earth to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-12).

Miracles were a testament to the identity of Jesus as the Messiah. “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22). Honest Jews were willing to see the miracles of Jesus for what they were – signs that He was from God. “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him’” (John 3:1-2).

Even His enemies could not deny that Jesus performed miracles. “Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, ‘What shall we do? For this Man works many signs’” (John 11:47). However, instead of believing Jesus, they tried to cover up the evidence of these miracles (John 12:9-11) and credit the power behind His miracles to Satan (Matthew 9:34, 12:24).

The New Testament records about 35 miracles that Jesus performed. Not every miracle of Jesus was recorded, but the ones that have been recorded are preserved as evidence that Jesus is the Son of God. “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).

4. The Testimony of Eyewitnesses

While I have never personally seen or heard Jesus, the New Testament records the testimony of those who knew, saw, and heard Him while He walked on this earth.

  • His mother believed in His power (John 2:3-5).
  • Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 16:16).
  • John said that his faith was based upon what he had seen, heard, and experienced with Jesus. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).
  • Thomas doubted the report that Jesus was alive after His resurrection, until he saw the evidence that he needed.

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”

27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:24-29

  • Paul was transformed from persecutor to believer (Galatians 1:23).
  • The centurion at His crucifixion concluded, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54).

In a court of law, facts are determined upon the evidence of eye witness testimony. These individuals saw Jesus, I did not. Based upon the things that they saw, they determined that Jesus was the Son of God. Not only did they make claims regarding the identity of Jesus, many of them willingly died for these claims. No one willingly dies for something that they know to be false. The testimony of the Bible can be accepted without hesitation.

5. Fulfilled Prophecy

Fulfilled prophecy is the greatest argument for both the inspiration of the Scriptures as well as identifying Jesus as the Son of God. Fulfilled prophecy is not the result of luck or guesswork. It shows the omniscient mind of God at work.

Jesus made very detailed predictions about:

  • His death and resurrection (Matthew 20:17-19; John 2:19).
  • Peter’s denial (Mark 14:30).
  • The destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 24).

Every one of these predictions came to pass exactly as Jesus had said.

Jesus was also the subject of Old Testament prophecy. The Messiah is a major theme in the Old Testament. There are 332 prophecies in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the life of Jesus. At least 25 of them are fulfilled in the last 24 hours of His life.

Some of these prophecies include:

  • His birthplace – Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
  • He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:4)
  • He would have a forerunner (Malachi 3:1)
  • His betrayal price of 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13)
  • He would be killed with transgressors (Isaiah 53:12)
  • He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9)
  • His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16)
  • Men would cast lots for His clothing (Psalm 22:18)
  • He would be raised from the dead (Psalm 16:10)

When we apply the law of compound probabilities to the odds of one person fulfilling just right of these prophecies, we learn that the odds are 1 in 1017.

Fulfilled prophecies, both those that Jesus made and those that He fulfilled in His life, argue in favor of His being the Son of God.

6. Jesus Fits the Profile of Deity

If Jesus was really the Son of God, we would expect Him to have the attributes and characteristics of God.

The Bible says that God is omniscient (all knowing). Jesus was told, “Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God” (John 16:30).

God is also omnipresent (present in all places at the same time). Jesus told His apostles, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

God is omnipotent (all-powerful). Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18).

God is holy. Jesus is without sin: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).

God is sovereign (above or superior to all others). Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15).

God is eternal. Jesus was with God in the beginning. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

God is immutable (never changes). Jesus Christ “is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

God is forgiving. Jesus forgave sinners (Mark 2:5, Luke 7:48).

If we are looking for someone who fits the profile of deity, we need look no further. Jesus was everything in the flesh that we know about God. “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).

Conclusion

On a Friday morning in Jerusalem, close to two thousand years ago, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate found himself asking the question, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:22). Unbeknownst to Pilate, this question would need to be asked by every man, woman, and child after him.

Either Jesus is who He claimed to be, or He isn’t. If He is not the Son of God, then He should be rejected as the world’s greatest con man. However, if His claim is true, then we must accept the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that eternal life is found in His name.