I Am the Son of God
We’ve spent some time now looking at this concept of the Lord Jesus being “one” with his Father. By looking at the overall teaching of Scripture, we’ve realized that indeed, the idea that Christ is co-equal with God is not what the Lord himself taught, and we’ve also noted that this oneness of which the Lord spoke seemed to be a oneness of mind.
But we haven’t yet studied the actual place in which Christ made that claim.
So, let’s take a look. Read through these words carefully––and consider the reaction that the Jewish authorities have to Christ’s words:
“‘I and the Father are one.’ The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.’” John 10:30-33
After the Lord made his statement, the Jews were furious. In their mind, there was no question what he was saying: though he were a man, he had just stated that he was God.
In other words, the Jews heard these words and took them in the same way that the Trinitarians do today.
Now, if this were the correct understanding, how would we have expected the Lord Jesus to react? Likely, he would have said something in the affirmative––confirming to them that they had understood him correctly, and then expounding upon the way in which he was indeed God.
But his reaction may take us by surprise:
“Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’?’” John 10:34
Notice that the Lord did not affirm their statement nor did he deny it. Instead, he latched on to their charge and explained how it was wrong. They claimed that he had called himself God. Well, he was about to show them that in fact, their very own rulers had been called “God.” Thus, the Lord quoted Psalm 82:6 to them: a psalm that was built upon this very idea of representation.
In that psalm, the rulers of the people were called gods––not because they were literally God, or because they were some type of lesser god, but because they represented God. They were to teach the people God’s ways. They were to be of one mind with Him and encourage His principles amongst the people.
Even the elders of Israel had been called gods. And so the Jews were going to take offense at him making himself God?
But, in fact––and here is the time that he tells them that their charge was wrong in the first place––that isn’t actually what he said. Read carefully:
“If he called them gods to whom the word of God came, and Scripture cannot be broken, do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?”
If the rulers could have been called gods, then really, there was no issue with the Lord being called “God.” Indeed, we saw the same of the angels in the Old Testament.
But, even more than that, the Lord had a greater point to prove. It wasn’t just that he could be called God, but in fact that wasn’t what he had said!
“Because I said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
That was what he meant when he said that he was “one” with God.
The Lord himself explained his words. A son is not the same as his father. But, generally, a son does think in the same way as his father.
And so it was with the Lord Jesus. As he said, “The word that you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.” John 14:24
The Lord was a perfect representative of God. Rather than teaching the Trinity, Scripture teaches that Christ represents his Father––always living by his principles, and always seeking His goals.
And yet, why does this distinction matter? Why does the belief in the Trinity, versus belief in Christ as a representative make a difference?
This will be the subject, Lord willing, of our next post.
- Jason Hensley