February 29th, 2024
L&T Opinions Page

gary damronMY PERSPECTIVE, Gary Damron


More than 2,000 years ago, during the reign of King Herod, a baby boy was born in Bethlehem of Judea (Matthew 2:1). While this and other scriptures give many details, much of what I believe about Jesus of Nazareth comes from His own words. A favorite Christmas song asks, “What Child is This?” For the next several weeks, we’ll try to answer with words Jesus said about Himself; today’s focus is on at least 9 instances where the emphasis was on the Son of God. 

Some background: An angel directed His parents to call the baby Jesus because He would save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:18-25). Hundreds of years before, it was prophesied that a virgin would be found with child, brought about by the Holy Spirit, and He will be Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14). The angel told Mary, “‘He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.  … The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God’” (Luke 1:32, 35). 

1. Jesus’ statements about God: He called God “my Father” 42 times, clear and unmistakable declarations of sonship; other individuals were not included in those references. He spoke of “your Father” 32 times, which excluded himself from the quotation and indicated a different relationship. Once (Matthew 6:9) he used “Our Father” in the preface of the Lord’s prayer. In the three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), “the Father” was used sparingly; however, in the Gospel of John, the phrase appears 63 times to reveal roles and relationships between the two, and to point Jesus’ followers to God. He used the words “My Father’s house” twice, once when 12-year-old Jesus was in Jerusalem (Luke 2:49), and in the cleansing of the temple (John 2:16). When Jesus prayed, he began simply, “Father”. 

2. Jesus’ baptism: John the Baptist baptized Jesus, saw the heavens open and a dove descend, and heard the voice from heaven, “‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased’” (Matthew 3:17 and Luke 3:22). John declared, “‘I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God’” (John 1:34), and Jesus did not object to the title. 

3. Jesus’ persecution because of claims: When the Jews protested that He healed on the Sabbath, Jesus’ short answer was, “‘My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.’” And, “for this reason” they sought to kill Him (John 5:17, 18). Verses 21-25 further explain that the Son and Father work equally, further enraging his accusers. 

4. Peter’s confession: Peter declared, “‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,’” and Jesus called him blessed because this was revealed by “‘my Father who is in Heaven’” On that statement of faith the church would be built (Matthew 16:15-18). 

5. John chapter 10: Jesus said, “‘I and the Father are one.’” You can read the interchange afterward between Him and the Jews (John 10:31-36). 

6. Lazarus’ illness and death: Jesus explained, “‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it’” (John 11:4). Then he acted by calling Lazarus from the tomb. 

7. Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin: When the high priest asked, “‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Son of God?’” Jesus responded, “‘I am’” (Luke 22:70). He went on to say that the elders would see “‘the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven’” The claim was enough to make the high priest tear his robe, accuse Jesus of blasphemy, and condemn Him as deserving of death (Matthew 26:63-66). 

8. Jesus’ address to Thyatira: In each statement to the churches in Revelation, Jesus identified Himself by a different title. All seven expressed divine qualities, but in words to Thyatira, Jesus proclaimed himself, “‘The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze’” (Revelation 2:18). 

9.  John 3:13-18: Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, words spoken to the religious ruler Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night. Verses before and after that explain more about the powerful love of the Father, that brought God Himself to earth as a baby (Immanuel, God with us); He lived and died in order that each person who believes might have eternal life. 

In the Old Testament, Moses cried out, “‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!’” (Deuteronomy 6:4).   All of the gospels testify to the fact that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God, in fact, God in human form. The Book of John was written decades later, and we find an emphasized clarity in his gospel, as John sought to counter those who were already undermining this essential truth. The reason Jesus’ words are so important: “‘He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God’” (John 3:18). I would invite you to listen to more on the subject at https://www.facebook.com/barbaran.gary

GUEST COLUMN, Kim Baldwin, Kansas Farm Bureau


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