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God the Father makes the point that Jesus is His Son. Why given how few words He uses, does He introduce Jesus as His Son?

“And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭9:35‬ ‭

“and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭

“And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭9:7‬ ‭

Doesn’t the Bible speak of many sons of God? Is there anything significant with respect to God speaking about His Son in this way? Is this Son distinct from the other sons of God?

Does it have any connection to Psalm 2:7, Proverbs 30:4, Hebrews 1:2?

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  • 2
    +1 excellent question. It is essential to know the difference between Jesus as the Son of God and Christians as sons of God. In the case of the former, God the Father himself testified about Jesus as his Son in the Synoptics whilst in John's gospel, John the Baptist testified that Jesus is God's Son. John the Baptist is the one who prepares the way of the Lord.
    – Radz Brown
    Oct 14 at 23:18
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    What other son did he ever say that he was Well Pleased with? What other son did he say LISTEN to him?
    – Sherrie
    Oct 15 at 14:43
  • Very difficult to choose between all the responses. They were all very good and each had there own merits Oct 22 at 2:12
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The Synoptic gospels had God the Father proclaiming that Jesus is his Son. Matthew agrees with Mark's reading ''This is my Son, the Beloved''. Luke deviates and had a different reading in the second phrase (''my chosen'' instead of ''the beloved''): ''This is my Son, my Chosen''.

Luke 9:35 (NRSV): New Revised Standard Version 35 Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

Matthew 3:17 (NRSV): 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Mark 9:7(NRSV): 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”

According to a scholarly source, the term ''Son of God'' in a purely Jewish sense refers to obedient people of God. When applied to Jesus, it means he was ''in a unique sense chosen of God and obedient in his service''. The purely Jewish sense of the title ''Son of God'' could explain why Luke had oprted for the reading ''My Chosen'' (Luke 9:15), and it's because it's synonymous with being the ''Son of God'' in the unique sense of being obedient to God and in his service as the Anointed One.

enter image description here

("Son of God" in Jewish Writings Prior to the Christian Era, Erminie Huntress, 1935)

In the gospel of John, the sonship of Jesus is featured prominently and it was revealed by whom God has sent, namely John the Baptism (John 1:6-9), testifying that Jesus is the Son of God (John 1:34).

The sonship of Jesus is different from other sons of God because Jesus is the ''only Son'' (John 3:16) who is also ''the only God'' (John 1:18 ESV).

Chiastic Structure in John 1:1, John 1:3 and John 1:18:

A: The Word was God 1:1c A

B: only God 1:18b

C: All things came into being 1:3a

D: through Him 1:3b

D: Without the Word 1:3c

C: Not one thing came into being 1:3d 

B: in the bosom of the Father 1:18c

A: The Word was with God 1:1b 

Analysis of the Chiastic Structure (A-B-C-D-D-C-B-A):

  • In (A-B-B-A) equated the Logos and only Son as the same person.
  • The highligted part of the chiasm was the coming into being of all things through the Logos/the only Son (C-D-D-C).

notes

  1. According to commentaries, the reading of Luke is found in better manuscripts: This is my beloved Son.— The better MSS. give “chosen.” (Comp. the use of a like word in 1Peter 2:4; 1Peter 2:6.) (Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers). Another commentary provided these manuscripts:

Luke 9:35. ἐκλελεγμένος, the reading of [93] [94] [95], is to be preferred, because ἀγαπητός, T. R., is conformed to that in the parallels; here only in N. T.

[93] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[94] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[95] Codex Regius--eighth century, represents an ancient text, and is often in agreement with א and B.

(Source: Expositor's Greek Testament)

  1. The Old Latin (Vetus Latina) translated μονογενης as ''unicus'' (the''only one'' in the sense of ''unique''). ''unique'' is also one of the definitions of μονογενής in Greek: pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class, unique in kind" (Source: Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (BAGD, 3rd Edition).

  2. The doctrine of the ''eternal generation'' first appeared in the )writings of the church fathers in the second century A.D. (c. 130-160 under the inlfuence of Platonic philosophy as well as by reading the Sapiental books of the Septuagint (LXX) as references to the pre-existent Jesus Christ (cf. Proverbs 8:22, Wisdom of Solomon 7:26-27). The early church fathers who were Native Greek speakers deemed γενής in μονογενής as "begotten''. Tertullian spoke of Christ as "unigenitus* because alone genitus of God [Against Praxeas VII]. The Greek fathers like Justin Martyr used μονογενὴς in the context of the begetting of the Son before all creatures (Dialogue to Trypho, 105).According to scholars, μονογενής is merely a fuller form of monos.

enter image description here

(God's Only Son: The Translation of John 3:16 in the Revised Standard Version, Dale Moody, 1953).

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  • It sure why it was DV probably on theological grounds more so than anything. Oct 15 at 2:49
  • @NihilSineDeo I edited my answer. :)
    – Radz Brown
    Oct 16 at 7:30
  • My comment should have read before it was autocorrected “Not* sure why it was DV...” Oct 16 at 13:00
  • @Nihil, what does DV mean? 😮
    – Radz Brown
    Oct 19 at 5:48
  • I stands for down vote Oct 19 at 8:35
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This is a great question

There are three times in the New Testament where God the Father speaks out to and about His Son. I would suggest that it is more enlightening to consider the context of the statements (when Jesus was baptized, at the transfiguration, and in John 12:28, just a few days before Jesus' death).

At the baptism of Jesus, the declaration of the Sonship of Jesus is primarily for the benefit of John the Baptist, who was told that he would baptize someone who would be identified as the Messiah by God Himself. Thus He is both identified by God as well as the nature of His identity in that declaration:

John 1:33 "I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God." (NKJV)

The second (and last) declaration of Sonship is at the transfiguration. In that moment the importance of the declaration is for the Apostles, with the contrast being made between Jesus and Moses and Elijah (who embody the Law and Prophets of the Old Testament). Here the Father's declaration is that we are to listen to His Son over Moses and Elijah; it is a declaration of the nature of the covenant of Christ being superior to the covenant of Moses.

So in summary, the Father making the declaration on those two occasions (again, three times total that the Father spoke from Heaven to the Son) to the Sonship of Jesus pertained more to the circumstances of the moment; to establish the testimony of John the Baptist, and to establish the superiority of Jesus to the Old Testament.

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Jesus' two most common titles in the NT are:

The Son of Man, Matt 11:19, 24:30, Mark 14:21, Luke 9:26, etc

  • The Son of God,
  • The Son of Man

The Son of God

This title serves to emphasize several ideas about Jesus:

  • the full divinity of Jesus as per John 5:18, Phil 2:6
  • the Heir and King of the Christian community, Luke 1:33, John 1:49, Acts 13:23, Heb 1:8, Rev 11:15. Compare Jer 33:14-17, Eze 37:22, Rev 5. See also the many NT declarations where Jesus us seated at the right of the God in heaven, Matt 26:64, Mark 14:62, 16:19, Luke 22:69, Acts 2:33, 7:55-56 (standing), Rom 8:34, Eph 1:20, Col 3:1, Heb 1:3, 8:1, 10:12, 12:2, 1 Peter 3:22. See also Ps 110:1, Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36, Acts 2:34, Heb 1:13, Rev 5.
  • By an extension to the above, as King in Hebrew idiom, Jesus becomes the "father" of the Christian community as per Isa 9:6, "Everlasting Father".

Thus, when God calls Jesus His beloved Son, it enabled Jesus to take the title, "Son of God".

APPENDIX: (For completeness) Son of Man

The title "The Son of Man" serves several functions -

  • it is an allusion to Jesus full humanity (and ultimately mortality) as per the Hebrew idiom in places like Eze 21:19, 28:2, 33:2, 12, 37:16, 43:7, etc
  • It shows Jesus as "our brother" because we are adopted into the family of God, and thus children of God, as per John 3:1-8 and 1:12, 13 where we are able to become children of God. Rom 1:7, 2 Cor 1:2, Eph 1:2, Gal 1:3, Phil 1:2, 4:20, Col 1:2, 1 Thess 3:11, 2 Thess 1:1, 2, 2:16, 1 Tim 1:2, etc. (This is contradistinction of the Jewish leaders whom Jesus accused of having the Devil as their father, John 8:44.)
  • it emphasizes God as our Father Deut 32:15, 18, Ps 89:26, Isa 63:8-10, 16, 64:8, Mal 1:6. In the NT writers frequently refer to God as “the Father”, Gal 1:1, Eph 1:3, 5:20, 6:23, Phil 2:11, 1 Thess 1:1, 1 Cor 15:25, 2 Cor 1:3, 11:31, James 1:27, 1 Peter 1:2, 3, 2 Peter 1:17, 2 John 3, etc; or “My Father”, Matt 11:27, 12:50, 18:35, 20:23, 26:53, Luke 10:22, 15:58, John 5:17, 8:19, 54, 10:17, 18, 29, 14:21, 23, 15:18, etc. The Lord’s Prayer begins with “Our Father”, Matt 6:9, see also Gal 1:4, 1 Thess 3:11, 2 Thess 2:16, Titus 1:4, Col 1:3, Phil 1:2, 4:20, etc.
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The Parable of the Tenants should probably be enlightening here:

Matthew 21:33-46 (ESV):

33 “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. 35 And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. 44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. 46 And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.

Verses 37-39 are very clearly talking about Jesus, the son of the house's master (i.e. God), the heir of his house (i.e. God's kingdom). No one else in the parable is described with these attributes. They are unique to the son.

Another Parable that may shed more light is The Parable of the Wedding Feast:

Matthew 22:1-14 (ESV):

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Again, verse 2 is very clearly talking about Jesus, the son of the king (God). God is preparing a wedding feast for his Son, and everyone else is referred to as servant/guest. It is therefore clear that Jesus has a privileged position as the Son of God, which does not apply to other sons.

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