Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


The Son of God
Pastor Steve Schell
Acts 9:19-22
There are mysteries that lie hidden for centuries and then God, in His perfect timing, chooses to reveal a deeper level of that truth. Until that revelation is given we must believe as much as He has shown us, and then humbly acknowledge there is still much we don’t know. Those who try to solve these mysteries before God reveals them always get it wrong, and end up leading others astray. The human mind is simply incapable of discerning God’s mysteries on its own. We must wait until He explains them. In fact, His spiritual truths are so deep we will spend a lifetime trying to understand just a portion of what He has shown us.

The arrival of Jesus Christ revealed God at a level far deeper than anything that had ever happened before Moses and the prophets told us about God. He spoke to us through them. But when Jesus came we actually saw God. We listened to God speak, we watched God minister, and we even touched God (1Jn 1:1). He wasn’t merely a teacher or a prophet, though He was these things. He certainly wasn’t just a good man, though He was and still is a man. Jesus is the missing piece to the puzzle. He’s the key that finally fits the lock so the door can be opened. When we understand who He is and what He has done we can at last look back on the entire Bible and find that mystery after mystery suddenly makes sense. From the things God said to Adam and Eve in the garden, to the sacrificial offerings in the tabernacle and temple, to the prophecies that an eternal king would come from the house of David…to the mysterious references in the prophets about a “Son of God.” Once you meet Jesus these passages, and many more, make sense. And they did for Saul of Tarsus too. Seeing Jesus in His glory on the road to Damascus changed everything. This great Jewish scholar now held the key that unlocked the mysteries of scripture. And it didn’t take him long to begin unlocking. Within days after being baptized he was in the synagogues of Damascus proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God.

The mystery
Try to put yourself in their shoes. What do you suppose the people in the synagogues of Damascus heard when Saul told them that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God? Remember, they didn’t know the Christmas story. They hadn’t heard about an angel speaking to Mary (Lk 1:26-38). But they did know the Bible, and that term had meaning to them. Daily they recited the Shema: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God; the Lord is one.” So they deeply believed there are not many gods. There is only one true God. Yet all through their scriptures mysterious things had happened or been said.
• God addressed someone when He said “Let us make man in our image” (Ge 1:26).
• God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden apparently in the form of a man, and conversed with them (Ge 3:8, 9).
• Abraham and Sarah served a meal to Someone in the form of a man whom Abraham (and Moses who wrote this) called “Yahweh,” the name of God (Ge 18:3).
• Moses was permitted to see God’s back as He passed by the cleft of the rock (Ex 33:32).

And there were numerous other examples of the “angel of the Lord” appearing in human form and speaking to people.

David’s Son
Then came one of the greatest promises in the Bible. God spoke it to David, “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me. When he commits iniquity I will correct him with the rod of men, but My loving kindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; Your throne shall be established forever” (2Sa 7:12-16).

This is a mysterious passage. God seems to promise that He will enter into a father/son type of relationship with one of David’s physical descendants…this part sounds totally human. But this descendant of David also seems to possess divine qualities. He will build a great family for God and rule His kingdom forever. Yet Solomon certainly wasn’t this person. And within a few generations David’s family dynasty had come to an end and there had been no such king. It seemed the promise had failed.

Psalms and Prophets
But in the psalms and prophets this promise wasn’t forgotten. Though the tree of David’s dynasty had been cut down, a “Branch” would sprout out of the humble roots of that tree. “Then a shoot will spring from the root of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him…” (Isa 11:1, 2).

Isaiah beautifully expresses the mysterious union of human and divine in this Person when he says, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, and the government will rest on His shoulders; His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace on the throne of David and over His kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore” (Isa 9:6-7).

Daniel saw, “One like a Son of Man…And He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed” (Dn 7:13, 14).

Micah spoke to the town of Bethlehem and said, “From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Mi 5:2).

So Israel was waiting for Someone who would set up God’s kingdom on earth. He would be one of David’s descendants, but He would also be like God—holy, powerful, have all knowledge and wisdom—and He would rule the people of God forever.

Psalm 2
If God had promised to treat David’s descendant like a son, here in Psalm 2 He takes that promise to another level. It pictures God placing a king on the throne of the world. It calls this person “Messiah,” and hears Him say these words,
“I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son. Today I have begotten You’” (Ps 2:7).

The nations of the earth are warned to worship Him with reverence and “rejoice with trembling, to do homage (kiss) to the Son, that He not become angry and you perish in the way” (Ps 2:11, 12).

This does not merely speak of a father/son-like relationship. It’s not God adopting a very special man, and then telling everyone to treat him like His son. You never worship a man. Even angels wouldn’t allow themselves to be worshipped. You only worship God. So who is this?

New Testament statements
The term “Son of God” is often used in the New Testament. Listen:
• Mt 3:17 “This is My beloved Son…”
• Mt 4:3 “If you are the Son of God…”
• Mt 8:29 “What do we have to do with You, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
• Mt 16:16 “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
• Mt 22:41-46 “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?”
• Mt 26:63 “And the high priest said to Him, ‘I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.’” Jesus answered by quoting from the passage in Daniel that we read earlier. The high priest responded by tearing his robe and declaring Jesus had blasphemed.
• Mt 27:40 “If you are the Son of God come down from the cross.”
• Mt 27:54 “Truly this was the Son of God.”

Most of these seem to equate “Son of God” with the term “Messiah.” They’re thinking of a person who has been adopted into a father/son-like relationship. But as we said earlier, Jesus unlocks the mysteries of the Bible, and there is none more important than this.

The Divine Son
Only days after being baptized, Saul of Tarsus was proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God. And, yes, he believed Jesus was the Messiah, the promised son of David. But on the road to Damascus, the Person he saw was much more than that. He saw Jesus shining with divine glory. He called Him Lord. Years later he described what happened this way, “But when God, who had set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles…” (Gal 1:15, 16).

No rabbi, no Jewish scholar, says something like that about a man no matter who that man is. In that blinding flash he saw the Promised One and knew He was literally God’s Son. That “in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col 2:9).

1) Yes, God’s begotten Son became a man and was in that sense a “son of God” like Adam and Eve, and like you and me (Lk 3:38; Ac 17:28).
2) Yes, Jesus was the promised human descendant of David and will sit on his throne forever.

But one look at Jesus and Saul knew He was more than that. He was also God. And with that key, that revelation, he would look back into the scriptures and realize that Jesus is the One who walked in the garden with Adam and Eve, who made a covenant with Abraham, who spoke with Moses on Mt. Sinai, and who Daniel saw approach the Ancient of Days. Suddenly it all made sense. Indeed there is only one God, but He has always had a Son who is divine and just like Him, who serves His father in perfect unity and love…and whom He sent from heaven to become one of us, so that God Himself could take upon Himself the judgment for our sins, and adopt us as His children forever.

Confession
Let’s stand and join Paul as he confesses Jesus as the Son of God, and in doing so let’s prepare our hearts to take communion. (Col 1:15-23)

Questions
1) Paul also speaks of humans becoming “sons of God” (Ro 8:14-16, 19, 21, 23). What is the difference between Jesus’ sonship and ours (men and women)?
2) Why was it necessary for our Savior to be both human and divine? 


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