The Christian religion is based on the premise that Jesus is the Son of God, backed up by several Biblical verses. John the Baptist makes that claim when prophesying the birth of Christ (English Standard Version Bible, John1:34). Theological scholars argue that Jesus never claimed that he is the son of God. However, a close analysis of the Bible shows some instances where Jesus made that claim, although indirectly (Weinandy 33). Therefore, Jesus, through his actions, responses, and indirect utterances, claimed to be the son of God, even though a direct claim cannot be found in the Bible.
While evaluating the Biblical term “Son of God,” Graeme Goldsworthy finds that it has been used fifteen different uses of the term, and none of them has any evidence of Jesus directly claiming to be God’s son (Bird 77). However, a claim does not have to be direct as it can be implied through actions and activities. Jesus acts as the Son of God without verbally claiming he is the son. First, he fulfills Adam’s, David’s, and Israel’s roles. Second, his birth fulfills the prophecies made before he was born (Weinandy 35). These events create a perception that he is the son of God, and it can be concluded that Jesus claimed to be the son of God through his behavior.
Jesus claims to be the Son of God by responding in the affirmative when people call him by that name. He also does so by not objecting when others referred to him as God’s son. Whereas Jesus never calls himself the Son of God in direct verbal utterances, he claims to be one through how he responded when people call him God’s son(Weinandy 35). When Christ walks on water, the disciples say, “You are the Son of God.” (English Standard Version Bible, Matthew 14: 22). He responds in the affirmative. By supporting others when they call him the Son of God, he indirectly makes that claim.
In some instances, Jesus refers to God as my father and acted like a Son of God. When reading a passage at a synagogue in Israel, he says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…” (English Standard Version Bible, Luke 4:18). After finishing the passage, he claimed that he had fulfilled what Prophet Isaiah had foretold. During this incident, he acts as the son of God by telling the people that the father has sent him. It is not the first instance where he refers to God as the father and proclaims to have been sent by him. These actions make a perception of a filial relationship between God and Jesus(Weinandy 38). Therefore, Jesus, even without verbal statements, claimed to be the son of God through the way he presented himself to the people as one whom God had sent
Besides, the blasphemy charge brought upon him during the crucifixion results from the impression he creates during his activities and presentations. He has succeeded in convincing the people that he had a unique filial relationship with God, and that is why Jesus is charged for making that claim, even though he does explicitly state so (Tanis 58). If what one does makes others believe certain things about them, then their actions make a bold statement(Tanis 58). Jesus’ action spoke loud about his status as the Son of God, and he did not have to make a claim verbally for people to believe he was God’s son. Therefore, without any verbal declaration, Jesus claims to be the son of God by behaving in a way that makes everyone believe he was one.
The phrase Son of God appears several times in the Bible, and even though Jesus does not directly claim to be one, he creates a perception that he is God’s son through his activities and utterances. When the Jews accuse him of calling himself the Son of God, they refer to the perception he creates through his work and taking the Son of God’s role. Claims do not have to be verbal, and a person can say something through their actions, inactions, behavior, and responses. Therefore, the absence of evidence in the Bible of Jesus directly claiming to be the son of God does not mean that he didn’t make such a claim. Jesus claimed to be the son of God by presenting himself as one who had been by the father, conducting roles that prophets had said would be completed by God’s son, and reacting affirmatively when others called him “Son of God.” From a practical perspective, it can be concluded that Jesus is so influential that his activities and works are taken as statements, and that is why he is charged with something he did not say by the Jews
Bird, Michael. Jesus the Eternal Son: Answering Adoptionist Christology, Wm. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2017. Print.
English Standard Version Bible, Good News Publishers, 2016. Print.
Tanis, Joshua “The Divinity of Jesus in Early Christian Thought: A Historiographical Approach.” California State University Stanislaus, 2017.
Weinandy, Thomas.“Jesus Becoming Jesus: A Theological Interpretation of the Synoptic Gospels,” Catholic University of America Press, 2018. Print.