Son of God

Son of God – Luke 22:67-70       12/16/2019 We’re on the cusp of Christmas eve (two days away!); possibly, our younger people are driving themselves, and us, crazy with anticipation!  The story of the baby born into poverty, born to a tradesman and a poor woman, is on many of our minds.  We have this picture of the humble and lowly baby Jesus.  But… He’s God!  We have statements found in John 1:1 and John 1:14 that help to lay the foundation for what we know about this babe in a manger. Today we’ll focus on the first statement.  To do that we’ll start by looking at a non-traditional Advent passage, Luke 22:67-70 and the trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin.  This group of men had authority over all religious disputes.[1]  The reason we’re looking at this passage is that part of the trial reveals something important about the nature of the first born child of Mary.  The Sanhedrin asked Jesus two specific questions;[2] the first, “are you the Christ?”  At the time of the trial, “Christ” had not yet become a proper name, rather it was the Greek transliteration for the Hebrew word “Messiah,” which had significant political overtones.[3]  Had Jesus answered this question in the affirmative, the Romans would have executed Him for treason.[4]  That was not what Jesus came to die for. The second question is more on point, “Are you the Son of God?”  Jesus’ response points to His ultimate vindication and exaltation as God the Son.[5]  Since Jesus’ arrival on the scene, the Jews had been questioning His authority.[6]  Not unsurprisingly, it is this very issue that the Sanhedrin zeroed in on as the only issue of concern, what was Jesus’ identity?[7]  Jesus’ response was to, once again, try to reveal who He is; Luke 22:69 ~ 69 Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.”[8] The place at the right hand of God is reserved seating, it’s reserved for the Chosen One.[9]  It was, in fact, reserved for Jesus, and this exalted position will be the final vindication of Jesus’ messianic identity.[10]  These words of Jesus were (and the membership of the Sanhedrin perfectly understood them as such) a direct claim to Divinity.[11] The Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh.[12]  This conclusion is based on the testimony of Scripture.  It is also based on the things Jesus did that were so beyond nature that they served as the unmistakable disclosure of His divine Son-ship.[13]  As amazing as Jesus’ miracles were, as troubling and intriguing as His words were, the greatest testimony of Jesus’ divine nature is, according to the Apostle Paul, the resurrection;[14] Romans 1:3-4.  This was the climactic declaration, unambiguously affirming that Jesus was God in the flesh. But Christ’s Son-ship did not begin at some point in time, He is the pre-existent Son of God.[15]  As the Son of God He is equal to God the Father.[16]  And yet, while being equal with the Father as God, the Son is not the Father.  John 1:1c is a pretty amazing statement for the nature of God, “and the Word was God.”  In Greek this literally reads, “and God was the Word.”[17]  However, the “Word” is identified as the subject through the presence of the definite article[18] and the nominative case.  But, if “the Word” is the subject, why is “God” set at the front?  In Greek, word order does not identify function within the sentence, it provides emphasis.  Here, “God,” in the inflected form identifying it as being in the dative case and therefore functioning as the direct object, is set in the emphatic position at the front of the sentence.  “God” is being stressed as preeminent, as first and primary.[19] If we abandon attempting a word for word translation, and rather focus on seeking to convey what John was attempting to communicate, John is essentially saying, “What God was, the Word was.”[20]  At the same time, the lack of the definite article before the word “God” keeps us from identifying the Person of the Word with the Person of the Father.[21]  The word order tells us that Jesus has all the attributes that the Father has, and the lack of the definite article prevents us from confusing the Person of the Son with the Person of the Father, they remain distinct individuals.[22] This theological detail matters.  Only One who was fully God could reveal what God is like.  But… more than that, if God were going to save us there needed to be someone who could stand in the gap as our representative.  Hence He had to be fully human.  We looked at this last week.  In addition to this, our salvations required more than a human being because only the infinite One who is equal to God, because He was God, is able to bear the imponderable burden of all the sins of the world.[23] What’s more, although Jesus could stand as our representative, He could not save us as a human being.  Salvation comes from nothing and no one other than God,[24] only God can save, which is what Jesus has done.[25]  Only God could utterly and finally satisfy the requirements of both His justice and His love.  Finally, just as Jesus had to be a human being to stand as mediator between man and God, so also for this role, He had to be God to stand as mediator between God and man.[26] So out of all this, what we find is that, in the same way that we have no salvation, and therefore no Christianity, if Jesus were not fully human, we also have no salvation and no Christianity if Jesus were not fully God.[27]  Our God is bigger than we give Him credit for.  With this in mind, how is your faith, your trust, in Him… when it starts to get tough?  The doctrine of the incarnation puts on display God’s amazing love, but also His wisdom, His power, His ability to defy our own limited logic.  Are we ready to submit to that?  Are we ready to acknowledge that even when things are not going our way, that in fact, even when we hate what’s happening, are we in those times ready to trust Him and His goodness and His wisdom? 

[1] Ken Heer, Luke: A Commentary for Bible Students, Wesleyan Bible Commentary Series, gen. publisher, Donald Cady, exec. ed., David Holdren, managing ed., Lawrence Wilson, theological ed., Stephen Lennox, snr. ed., Darlene Teague, (Wesleyan Publishing House, Indianapolis, IN.: 2007), 301.

[2] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume IV, Matthew – Romans, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 350.

[3] Walter Liefeld, Luke, in The Expositor’s Bible commentary: Volume 8, Matthew, Mark, Luke, gen ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Richard Polcyn, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1984), 1037.

[4] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume IV, Matthew – Romans, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 350.

[5] Walter Liefeld, Luke, in The Expositor’s Bible commentary: Volume 8, Matthew, Mark, Luke, gen ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Richard Polcyn, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1984), 1037.

[6] Joel Green, The Gospel of Luke, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, gen. eds., Ned Stonehouse, F.F. Bruce, and Gordon Fee, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1997), 793.

[7] Joel Green, The Gospel of Luke, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, gen. eds., Ned Stonehouse, F.F. Bruce, and Gordon Fee, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1997), 793.

[8] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Lk 22:69.

[9] Ken Heer, Luke: A Commentary for Bible Students, Wesleyan Bible Commentary Series, gen. publisher, Donald Cady, exec. ed., David Holdren, managing ed., Lawrence Wilson, theological ed., Stephen Lennox, snr. ed., Darlene Teague, (Wesleyan Publishing House, Indianapolis, IN.: 2007), 301.

[10] John Nolland, Luke 18:35–24:53, vol. 35C, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1993), 1110.

[11] H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., St Luke, vol. 2, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 207.

[12] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World, and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 306.

[13] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World, and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 307.

[14] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World, and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 310.

[15] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World, and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 315.

[16] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World, and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 316.

[17] William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, (ZondervanPublishingHouse, Grand rapids, MI.: 1993), 28.

[18] William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, (ZondervanPublishingHouse, Grand rapids, MI.: 1993), 28.

[19] William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, (ZondervanPublishingHouse, Grand rapids, MI.: 1993), 28.

[20] William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, (ZondervanPublishingHouse, Grand rapids, MI.: 1993), 28.

[21] William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, (ZondervanPublishingHouse, Grand rapids, MI.: 1993), 28.

[22] William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, (ZondervanPublishingHouse, Grand rapids, MI.: 1993), 28.

[23] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World, and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 326.

[24] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI.: 1994), 553.

[25] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI.: 1994), 553.

[26] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI.: 1994), 553.

[27] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI.: 1994), 554.

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