What does that title mean?
This is one of the most important titles of Jesus Christ in the Four Gospels, which use it over 60 times. (“Son” is not counted here when it is used in an ordinary sense, such as in Luke’s genealogy.) Only five examples represent many others, and they are found throughout Jesus’ ministry, from beginning to end.
If you would like to see the following verses in many translations and in their contexts, please go to biblegateway.com.
First, Father God proclaims the Sonship of Christ at his baptism.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit descending like a dove and lighting on him 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:16-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22)
This passage is a wonderful image of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—testifying to the divine nature of Jesus.
Second, even demons, which have access to certain truths in the spirit world that we do not have, shriek and submit before the Son of God:
28 When [Jesus] arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” (Matt. 8:28-29; Mark 5:6-8; Luke 8:27-29)
It should be noted that Satan himself questions Jesus’ Sonship in the God-ordained and Spirit-led Temptation or Testing (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-11). Said Satan, “If you are the Son of God” . . . . Jesus was victorious over this evil being, so this means that he is the Son of God.
Third, the disciples acknowledge him as the Son of God, after they saw him walking on water during a storm. Peter, in his boldness, asks Jesus to tell him to walk on water, too.
32 And when [Jesus and Peter] climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying “Truly, you are the Son of God.” (Matt. 14:32-33).
Fourth, Jesus was transfigured in front of Peter, James, and John, on a high mountain. “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as while light. Just then there appeared Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus” (Matthew 17:3). Then Father God speaks from heaven.
5 . . . a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matt. 17:5; cf. Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35)
Moses represents the Law and Elijah the prophets. This implies that Jesus fulfills their ministries. “Listen to him!” This passage, most importantly, reveals the divine nature of Jesus—the very Son of God. He rises far above the greatest lawgiver and the illustrative prophet.
Fifth and finally, a Roman centurion (and others) who was guarding Jesus during the crucifixion declares that Jesus is the Son of God.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God.” (Matt. 27:54; Mark 15:39).
When did Jesus “become” the Son of God?
This question may seem odd, and it is, but a radio host, who is normally an excellent teacher, said the Second Person of the Trinity became the Son of God at his birth. Luke 1:35 says: “So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” The radio host said that he couldn’t find Scripture that clearly says he was the Son of God before his incarnation. Yes, he was God before the incarnation (John 1:1-4), but the Scriptures are not clear about the title “Son of God” before his birth.
For my explanation as to why the radio host is wrong, please see my post:
So how do I get to know Jesus more deeply?
The title “the Son of God” is an indispensable description of Jesus Christ. No Christian could abandon it and reduce Jesus to a mere human prophet or teacher or rabbi or human son of man or messenger. It reveals who he was in relation to his Father. Now he shows us who his father was. We can also become the Father’s sons and daughters.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are also the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Rom. 8:14-17)
Those verses are full of truths that can transform you. You are his children and co-heirs. We may have to suffer persecution or we just have to die to self—his sufferings.
ARTICLES IN THE “TITLES OF JESUS?” SERIES
6. Titles of Jesus: The Son of God