“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God… And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased’” (Mark 1:1, 11)
Jesus is referred to as a “Son of” someone in different ways throughout the Bible. We are going to look at those different titles for the rest of the week. Yesterday we considered the truth that the child was fully God and fully man. We are going to continue that thought today by focusing on the title, Son of God.
This was a familiar title in the Bible, which first referred to the nation of Israel. “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son’”” (Exodus 4:22–23). God had placed his people in a loving relationship of father and son, and his plan was to save his son from bondage in Israel, which he did.
Later in the Old Testament this title was attached to a particular person, the King. “He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men” (2 Samuel 7:13–14). It was David of whom God was speaking in the present context, but God was also pointing to a greater King who would also suffer.
It is not until we get to the New Testament that we see Jesus as the true Son of God. Mark uses this title for Jesus throughout his gospel. Jesus fulfills this title through his kingly authority, but also through his righteousness and suffering for our sin. He was and is God’s Son, his Son that he loved and with whom he was well pleased. Jesus is fully God, of the same nature as his father. At his death, he was finally recognized as the Son of God by the centurion. “And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” (Mark 15:39).
“The centurion’s confession is the saving proclamation of the church, for it is the convergence point of Mark’s two major themes: the meaning of Jesus and the meaning of faith. The Son of God, on whom rests the unique blessing and love of the Father, chooses not to exalt himself but to follow a path of servanthood, indeed of vicarious suffering and death, so that through the cross the world might acknowledge him to be the Son and with him share free and joyful access to the Father” (James Edwards).