7 Proofs that Jesus is the Son of God
One of the largest claims in Christianity, and that marks it distinctly from its origins in Judaism, is the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. While the faithful of Israel looked for their Messiah, the Son of David who would save Israel, a man arose from a place of no financial or political importance, from a family of no reputation, to stake a claim greater than the throne of Israel; He claimed to be one with the Father.
In His historical context, Jesus of Nazareth was born in the house of two individuals named Joseph and his wife Mary. The Roman Empire controlled Israel through governors in partnership with local rulers. He served as an itinerant Rabbi for three years before being arrested and executed by crucifixion. Here, the story of Jesus of Nazareth turns, with the Gospel writers and other witnesses asserting that He rose from the dead in an act of eternal redemption for those who place their faith in Him. They claim this was possible because Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ - the Son of God.
The Son of God is a concept in Christianity that stems from the belief that God exists as a Trinity, one God with three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It is different than the references to individuals called sons of God or children of God, which commonly refers to mortal individuals who have a right relationship with the Lord. The Son of God - distinct in the English language by capitalizing the “S” in son - is a title in Christianity for God made flesh. For those who believe in the Trinity, it is the second in the Godhead.
Jesus Claimed to Be the Son of God
Jesus claimed this special title and relationship of Sonship and equality with the Father. He goes to the Father in love, and has unique access to the Spirit. While believers are a part of the family of God, Jesus Christ asserts a unique oneness in that family with the Father, in communion with the Holy Spirit:
John 10:15a, 30: “Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father...I and the Father are one.”
Mark 14:36: “And he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’”
Mark 14:61-62: “Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’”
The Bible verifies these claims primarily by several proofs including the testimonies of others, supernatural actions, and elements of the Lord’s life that are best explained by His role as the Son of God.
Here are 7 such proofs in the Bible that Jesus is the Son of God:
Testimony - Where in the Bible Is Jesus Called the Son of God?
There are several distinct instances where the moniker “Son of God” is applied to Jesus in the Gospels. These moments inform and reinforce His divine relationship with the Father. Some of the most prominent claims can be categorized as claims by supernatural beings, the prophet, and the Apostles.
1. The Supernatural Beings
Even before His birth, Jesus Christ held the title of the Son of God. When the angel Gabriel came to Mary to give her the news that she would be the mother of the Christ, he made the assertion twice.
Luke 1:32: “He will be called great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”
Luke 1:35: “...therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”
During His ministry, Jesus would cast out demons, who would address Him as the Son of God.
Luke 4:41: “And demons also came out of many, crying, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.”
Mark 3:11: “And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’”
2. The Prophet
The prophet John the Baptist affirms this claim. John the Baptist is a key witness, as he fulfilled the prophecy of one who would go before the Christ and proclaim His coming. In Isaiah 40:3, it foretells, “A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’” This voice did go on to proclaim the way of the Lord, and even to baptize Him.
John 1:34: “And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
3. The Apostles and Disciples
The apostles and the disciples followed the Lord Jesus, absorbed His teachings, and witnessed His miracles. They began to testify to what they saw, and who they believed He was. They may not at first have fully grasped in whose presence they stood, but over time they began to have personal revelations from the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 14:33: “And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”
Matthew 16:15-16: “He said to them, ‘But who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”
Actions and Aspects of the Son of God
Beyond the claims that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the Bible, there are moments that document evidence verifying it, by action, or by aspects of Christ’s power and character.
4. The Virgin Birth
If Jesus had a biological father, He could not have been the Son of God, and people would have been putting faith in a mere man. Instead, the Holy Spirit came upon Mary, and she conceived Jesus through divine means. Though Mary was betrothed to Joseph at this point, she was not married, and was confused as to how she could have a child without having a physical relationship with a man.
As documented in Luke 1:34-35, “And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’ And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.’” Later the angel told Joseph to marry Mary, but wait to have physical intimacy with her until after she gave birth to the child. The miraculous nature of Christ’s conception affirms the supernatural nature of Jesus.
5. His Consciousness of His Pre-existence
Some may argue that Jesus may have been the Son of God, but not one with the Father, one-third of the triune God, not fully God and fully man, which is what Christianity asserts. However, the Lord Jesus states at several points that He had a relationship and a nature that pre-existed His birth.
The Lord Jesus testifies He was sent by God from Heaven, such as in John 8:32, “He said to them, ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.”’ He also directly states that He co-existed with the Father in prayer in John 17:5, “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” His acknowledgement of this paternal relationship before He came to earth affirms His unique status as Son in a divine relationship.
6. The Power to Forgive Sins
The Old Testament asserts that only God has the ability to forgive sins. In Isaiah 43:25 God says, “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” It is the Lord who dispenses mercy and forgiveness. Therefore, it would have been blasphemy for anyone to claim to be able to forgive sins. This knowledge sheds light on several instances in the Gospels where Jesus asserts His Sonship as part of the Godhead, not just as a man. One such remarkable moment is when four men lower their paralyzed friend through a roof.
As told in Mark 2:5-12:
“And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ - he said to the paralytic - ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.’ And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’”
The scribes were not wrong when they asserted that only God can forgive sins. By forgiving the paralytic of his sins, Jesus was claiming His place in the Godhead as the Son of God. He healed the man of paralysis to prove the man’s sins had been forgiven to those around them, and the witnesses glorified God because of it.
7. The Father Publicly Claimed Him
Perhaps the strongest evidence that Jesus Christ is the Son of God came after John the Baptist baptized the Lord in the Jordan River. It is one of the moments in the Gospels where the Trinity can be seen, and where the Father claims Jesus Christ as His son; “...and [Jesus] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven, said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16b-17). God the Father reiterates this overt claim of a father-son relationship with Jesus Christ later during the Transfiguration, where He repeats the phrase, “...This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased...” (Matthew 17:5). God claimed Jesus Christ as the Son of God in two public displays.
Why Is This Important?
There are some who hold that Jesus deserves the title Son of God, but that it is not a claim to deity. However, when looking at the affirmations of Jesus’ right to the Son of God, it cannot be separated from His claim to deity. He claimed to be the Son before His birth, and He proved His authority to forgive sins by performing healing miracles after He forgave those who came to Him in faith.
It is also what His own disciples said of Him, such as in the opening of the Gospel of John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-2,14).
For the Christian today, it means our faith in Him for the security of salvation is well-founded. He will advocate for those the Father has entrusted to Him. The action by God the Father that proves Christ’s nature is also the mechanism by which humanity is blessed by His nature - that as the Son of God, He died for our sins. As summarized by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:4, “[He] was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Baxter, J. Sidlow. Explore the Book. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1960.
Pentecost, J. Dwight. The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981.
Walvoord, John. F. and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. USA: SP Publications, Inc., 1985.
Photo credit: Unsplash/James L.W.
Bethany Verrett is a freelance writer. She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and from Tiffin University with a Masters of Humanities.