When we hear Jesus described as the Son of God it immediately creates confusion. So if God get’s killed in a drive by shooting Jesus will be the first one to take his place, like Jesus is some kind of God Jr. who is second in command? This leads people to see Jesus as less than god and possibly why so many see Jesus as a good teacher or good person.
This especially becomes confusing for a child when they hear Jesus described as the Son of God. Their immediate context is family and in their mind God could have many sons and Jesus is just one of them. Why is such a confusing title referenced throughout Scripture?
Today we are too quick to assume the word “son” expresses relationship instead of essence and therefore leads us to see God the Father as one who existed prior to Jesus. This is the exact opposite of its intention. The title is to capture the essence of Jesus as God.
It is why in Matthew 26 the high priests ask Jesus if He is the “Son of God” and Jesus replies, “It is as you say.” They respond to Jesus’ claim of deity as blasphemy and seek out to stone him and kill him. When we hear and read the title “Son of God” we are too quick to see the humanity of Jesus and feel the emotional experience between father and son. However, when Scripture is describing Jesus as the Son of God it is capturing His deity more so than His humanity. It is His deity that enables Jesus’ death on the cross to satisfy God’s wrath toward sin and what makes this title so essential.
In the end, Jesus is of the same essence and character of eternal God. Just as we would say the phrase, “This is Tommy, he’s a son the of the king.” It captures where Tommy lives, where Tommy came from, and the essence of Tommy. Jesus is eternally God, with God, and the essence of God. It is a term that would have been familiar to the Jewish culture at the time and when Jesus tells us He is the “Son of God” He is telling us that He is God.
How do we explain “Son of God” to children?
In order to capture the emotional connection we are quick to use the title “Son of God” with our children. We will say to our children, “God loves us so much that He sacrificed His Son on our behalf.” Although this statement is Biblically accurate our children are left with the emotional connotation of Jesus as God’s son, but absent of Jesus being God.
When Jesus is described as the “Son of God” it is teaching us where Jesus came from, where Jesus dwells, and His very essence. He comes and walks among us as the “Son of God” because of the eternal sin that separates all of humanity from the holiness and righteousness of God. When Mary gives birth to the “Son of God” it isn’t the relationship with God, but that this little baby will be and is of the very essence of God and God is going to rescue humanity from the pain and penalty of sin. His very name captures it best meaning, “God has come to live with us.”