Front Page
Series Contents
Series Theme:  Who is God?

Title:   2. Jesus the Son


This page provides notes for anyone, Christian or non-Christian who wishes to look up for themselves what the Bible teaches about the person of God, in the form of Jesus, His Son.

The subject of the Lord Jesus Christ is so vast that we could go on for ever and ever considering who he is and what he has done. Therefore all we have done is to pick out some facets of this subject  being very much aware that there is much we have left out.



1. His Pre-Existence

1.1 Messianic Hope

Throughout the Old Testament there is evidence, first of all, that the coming of Jesus was not a last minute thought from God, but was the clear pre-planning of God.

The Jews expected One to come who would be:

  •    A prophet like Moses   Deut 18:18 
  •    A ruling conqueror (Balaam's prophecy)   Num 24:17-19
  •    A shepherd     Ezek 34:23
  •    A prince    Ezek 37:25
  •    A ruler from Judah    Gen 49:10
  •    Seed of David with everlasting kingdom    2 Sam 7:12- 
  •    Bringing the presence of God with him    Isa 7:14
  •     A ruler    Isa 9:6-7
  •    A Son of man coming with the clouds to rule    Dan 7:13,14
  •    God's servant     Isa 42:1-/49:1-/50:4-/52:13-

In the OT the Jews saw the coming One as a compilation of:

  •   Son of David
  •   A great ruler
  •  A prophetic messiah
  •  A priestly messiah
  •  A son of man
  •  A suffering servant

1.2 The Plurality of God

In the Old Testament there are little clues that lead us to be the belief that Jesus already existed with His Father, before he manifested himself on earth in human form:

  •   Gen 1: 26 "Let us make man in our likeness"
  •   Prov 8:22-31 Wisdom personified

1.3 Jesus' Own Words

  •  Jn 3:13 the One who came from heaven, the Son of Man
  •   Jn 6:33,38,46,50,51,58 Jesus speaks as coming from heaven

1.4 New Testament Testimony

  •   Jn 1:1,14 The Word. ..was God. ..made manifest
  •   Eph 1:3,4 Before the foundation of the world
  •   Col 1:16 by him all things were created
  •   Col 1:17 He is before all things



2. Divine and Human

2.1 Heresies and the Importance of this Doctrine:

  •  In the 4th century AD - Arianism
  •  This said that Christ is not really one with the Father, Christ had a substance similar to but not same as Father -in other words, Christ is different from the Father
  •  In the 4th century AD - Apollinaris
  •  This produced the Kenosis Theory (Gk "keno-o" = emptied himself ) i.e. Christ was God, then laid aside his divine attributes when he became man and took them up again when he ascended.

From just these two illustrations, and history furnishes many more, we can see that many have struggled with the concept of the divinity and humanity of Christ and have arrived at non-Biblical conclusions.

2.2 The Divinity of Christ

a) In OT prophetically - Isa 9:6 "a child is born....his name shall be called....Mighty God"

b) In the NT:-

  •  Jn 1 : 1 The word was God
  •  Jesus himself inferred it again and again e.g. In 5:18
  •  Col 2:9 "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form"
  •  Phil 2: 6 "Who, being in the very nature God. .."
  •  Heb 4:15 without sin, only possible in deity!

2.3 The Humanity of Christ

  •   Jn 8: 40 "You seek to kill me, a man who told you…”   
  •   Lk 24: 39 "Touch me and see; a ghost does not. ."       
  •   Heb 2:14 “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity"  

2.4 The Nature of the Union

a) It was Complete:

  •  The meal offering (Lev 2) illustrates it: fine floor (humanity) perfectly blended with olive oil (Holy Spirit) to become one cake
  • Note they are still distinct materials but perfectly blended

b) It was Permanent:

  •  When Jesus ascended, deity took a body with him
  •  Acts 1:9 The whole person ascended
  •  Rev 1:13 From heaven comes the revelation of a son of man
  •  Heb 2:5-9 Son of man now crowned with glory



3. Facets of Sonship

3.1 Subordination of Son to Father

The Bible shows Jesus as one of the personalities of the Godhead, but it always shows him as subordinate to the Father: Phil 2:8 ". ..being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped."


3.2 Areas of Subordination :

  •  Jesus only acted following the Father - Jn 5:19
  •  Jesus acts by command of his Father - Jn 10:18
  •  Jesus only does the Father's will - Heb 10:7
  •  Jesus is working to hand his kingdom over to his Father - 1 Cor 15:24
  •  Jesus' head is God -1 Cor 11:3
  •  Jesus intercedes to the Father -Heb 7:25 11 Jn 2:1
  • Man's ultimate goal is the Father, not Christ - Jn 14:6

3. 3 Attributes and Natures of the Son

a) Attributes:

Attributes are essential characteristics that make something what it is and not something else.

The attributes of God we considered in the study on "God" being Omniscience, Omnipresence, Omnipotence, Transcendence (being apart from the Universe), Unchangability, Immortality, Infinity, Holiness, Wisdom, Love.

b) Nature:

A person's nature is the essence of what they are. We speak of human nature or divine nature. The divine nature is Spirit with the attributes noted above. Human nature is flesh + soul.

c ) The Word made Flesh:

When Christ became flesh there was the UNITING OF TWO NATURES, i.e. the divine and the human. Neither nature became less but became ONE person. Similarly the two sets of attributes mix but remain the same.

Thus human nature was seen: Jesus wearied (In 4:6), needed to sleep (Mk 4:38 ), needed strengthening (Lk 22:43 ,44), hungered (Mt 4:2), thirsted (In 19:28 ), was limited in knowledge (Mt 24:36), was limited in location.

But divine nature is also there BUT LITTLE USED OR EXPRESSED.

See Mt 18:20 I Mk 2:5-7 etc.

The divine attributes were there through the Divine Spirit in Jesus and so he never ceased to be God. The importance of this is seen in the next Part of the study.



4. The Work of the Cross

4.1 The Centrality of the Cross

  •   1 Cor 2:2 "I resolved to nothing.....except Jesus Christ and him crucified"
  •   1 Pet 3: 18 "For Christ died for sins"     
  •   Rev 13:8 "The Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world"

4.2 Substitution

Christ was sinless so did not die for his own sin, but was God's substitute for you and me who DO deserve death.

  •  Rom 8: 3 - in the likeness of sinful men - to be a sin offering
  •  2 Cor 5:21 - God made him sin who had no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God

4.3 Propitiation

= to appease, to atone, to make up for

  •   Rom 3:25   
    • God presented him
    • as a sacrifice of atonement
    • to demonstrate his justice
  •   Sin MUST be punished by a Holy God
  •   Your sin MUST be punished by the Holy God
  •   Your sin WAS punished in Jesus on the Cross
  •   Justice has been seen to be done

4.4 Reconciliation

  •  Rom 5:10
    • God is reconciled to man {we were his enemies)   
    • God had been affronted by our sin   
    • now that sin has been dealt with   
    • God is now free to come to us    
  •  2 Cor 5:19,20   
    • we are reconciled to God
    • the way is now open
    • we may now come back to God

4.5 Redemption

  •   Acts 20:28   
    •  bought with Jesus' blood  (also 1 Cor 6:20 ) 
    •  we therefore belong to him
  •  Mt 20:28 
    •  Jesus ransomed us from Satan's dominion
    •  we have been set free from sin & death



5. His Position Today

•  Rom 8:34 - at God's right hand

•  Heb 2:8,9 - crowned with glory

•  1 Cor 15:25 - reigning

•  Eph 1:22 - all things under his feet

•  1 Pet 3:22 - all authorities in submission to him

•  Isa 9:7 - his rule increasing


6. The Names of Jesus (in John's Gospel) 

In the Fourth Gospel, John reveals Jesus to us in ways that were perhaps not yet understood by the Synoptic writers. He picks up and uses Jesus' teaching about himself using particular picture language phrases. Some of the phrases have Old Testament origins, others don't. The following are some examples of this.





The Word

A word is an expression of someone. Jesus is God's expression of Himself.


Lamb of God

A spotless lamb was at the heart of O.T. sacrifice e.g. Ex 12:1-13 as the means of deliverance from the Destroyer who brings God's judgement. Jesus is thus the one who is the means of delivering us from God's judgement. See also Rev 5:6


The Christ (Messiah)

i.e. the anointed one, the one sent by God with a purpose to fulfil the many O.T. prophecies about him.


The Son

The relationship between Jesus and God the Father is clear and distinct in this gospel. Note the “only” Son. In this sense Jesus alone comes out of the Father (see the Athanasian Creed ). Jesus is clearly acclaimed by John – Jn 1:34, 49, 11:27


The Bridegroom

Revealed as such by John the Baptist. The picture is of one who has wooed and won his bride by his love. The picture of the church as the bride is made clear in Rev 19:7,8


Son of Man

This was arguably Jesus' favourite reference to himself. It had O.T. links from Dan 7:13 where a human messiah figure is clearly indicated. The emphasis is on his humanity—but by the way Jesus used it, it was also a claim to divinity. Other useful uses of this tem in John (worth study) are:

1:51 / 3:13 ,14 / 6:27 / 6:53 / 6:62 / 8:28 / 12:23 / 12:34 / 13:31

In Daniel the figure is clearly one who has been given final judgement and who will come in the clouds with glory


(I AM) Bread of life

Bread is the basic food of life and so Jesus is declaring himself to be the one who both imparts and sustains spiritual and eternal life.


(I AM) Light of the world

Light reveals and shows the way. When a light is turned on the darkness goes and we can see everything around us clearly. Jesus claims to be the one who brings revelation that shows reality, who makes sense of the world, who brings us out of spiritual darkness.


(I AM) Gate (door) for the sheep

A gate was the way in for the sheep into the sheepfold. Jesus is the only way into God's Kingdom.


(I AM) The good shepherd

In the O.T. God had been the Shepherd – Ezek 34:11,12 but He also spoke about the Messiah as a shepherd – Ezek 34:23 & Micah 5:2-5. Zech 13:7 indicated that the Messiah shepherd would be struck down and the flock scattered.


(I AM) The resurrection and the life

Resurrection means being raised from the dead. The Biblical picture is that Christians have been raised from spiritual death (Rom 6:4,11) and this through Jesus. When we are ‘born again' (Jn 3:3) is it Jesus' Spirit (the Holy Spirit) bringing life to us. The life we then lead is a life in the Spirit (Gal 5:16 ,25) – Jesus in us.


(I AM) The way, the truth, and the life

Jesus is the way, the path, the road – He in us leads us through life. He is truth, real. He alone is totally real. He leads us from unreality into reality. Reality? As God has made things – as they are. Life – see above.


(I AM) The true vine

In the O.T. the people of God were seen to be the Vine (Psa 80:8 & Ezek 17:6). Jesus thus claims to be the real origin of the people of God and all who follow him are simply branches of him. Life flowing through him thus flows into the branches. The branches bear fruit (grapes) which is to become a blessing for the world (wine).

  NB. Some of the names Jesus declared of himself with the preceeding word, "! am".  There is a subtle echo here of the name of the godhead as found in Exodus 3:14.


7. His Future

    •   Acts 1:11 - he will return
    •   1 Thess 4:17- will take us to himself
    •   Rev 19:11 - will destroy his enemies with his word
    •   Rev 22:1,3 - will rule with his Father in eternity