A couple of months ago, the movie Son of God hit theaters. Soon afterward, a member of my church asked me what that meant. “I’ve always wondered, pastor,” she said, “what does it mean that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Good question. Jesus is God’s Son, but that doesn’t mean God the Father got married, his wife got pregnant and they had a son. Yes, Jesus was born here on earth to the Virgin Mary, but he has always existed. Just like God the Father, God the Son is eternal (John 1:1-14; Revelation 1:17). Jesus is God himself (Colossians 2:9). Our simple human minds cannot fully understand that. Our God is three separate persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and yet only one God.
When God reveals himself as a Father and Son, he is not referring to time, but to a relationship. God the Father loves his Son and is proud of him (Matthew 3:17). Jesus, his Son, loves his Father and obeyed him by coming to this world to be our Savior. By using the human terms “Father” and “Son,” God gives us a glimpse into the relationship between those two persons of the Trinity.
By calling himself “Father” and “Son,” God gives us a glimpse into his great love for us. The story is told of a pastor who one Sunday after church announced that a special guest wanted to say a few words to the congregation. Slowly an elderly man made his way to the front of the church.
“Many years ago,” the old man began, “I took my ten year old son and his friend out in my sailboat for a day on the water. A terrible storm came up and capsized the boat. I was able to grab on to the boat, but the boys were quickly pulled away by the current. I was able to reach a life preserver, but had only a split second to decide which boy to throw it to.”
The congregation held its collective breath as the old man paused to catch his. Finally, he lifted up his head and said, “I threw it to my son’s friend.”
He paused again. His voice trembled, “You see, I knew my son believed in Jesus. I knew where he would go if he died. I also knew my son’s friend didn’t go to church. I couldn’t take the chance. I threw him the life preserver.”
By that point, there wasn’t a dry eye in the church. The pastor slowly walked up behind the old man and put his arm him. He looked out at the congregation and said, “That’s a true story. I know, because I was the boy he saved.”
Could you do that? Would you do that? Sacrifice your own child to save someone else’s? As a parent I can’t imagine making that sacrifice.
That is the point of calling Jesus “the Son of God” – to help us understand the height, breadth and width of God’s love for us. God loved you so much he made that awesome and awful sacrifice. The Father let his Son die to rescue you. There is no greater love.