He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 16:15-17
As their personhood and sense of identity in the world is still being formed, to children, identifying themselves to their parents is something that gives them identity. There is a peace and assurance that comes in knowing who you are and where you come from. Growing up, identifying myself as my father’s daughter was something I deeply struggled with. During the latter half of my high school years, I came to a point when I didn’t want to call my father, “my father,” anymore because it had no meaning to it. I couldn’t understand why I struggled so much with my identity because of my dad. It wasn’t like he left the family. He was still there. It wasn’t until Christ came into my life that I realized it was because I never knew my father.
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15). To claim that Jesus is the Son of God is to know God intimately. Unless you make this confession, your knowledge of Him will fall short. Jesus wasn’t just the child of God or the inherited King to come, but Jesus was the very manifestation of God. Jesus was God, in the flesh. For the Jews, to claim that Christ was the “Son of the living God” as Peter did wasn’t just daring–it was crazy talk. People didn’t know, and even if they were taught, they couldn’t believe it. How could they? Why would God, the God who destroyed entire armies and cities of people, humble Himself and make Himself that low for us? If Jesus really was the Son of God, what was He trying to tell the world?
After Jesus was baptized right before the start of his ministry, God says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). He didn’t say, “This is my beloved Servant, with whom I am well pleased,” or “This is my beloved Priest, with whom I am well pleased.” Neither did he say, “This is my beloved Savior of the World, with whom I am well pleased.” He didn’t even say, “This is my beloved Prince” or “King of the World with whom I am well pleased.” God called Jesus His own beloved, begotten Son. Jesus wasn’t just God’s answer to the world, but God was literally giving and sending Himself to the world through His own flesh and blood. He wanted the world to know that the Father was sending His Son, that He was “in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
Though weak, low, and humble before the eyes of the world, when seen through the spiritual eyes, Jesus very much walked the earth like the Son of God. In fact, in the spiritual sense, he paraded the world like he was the King that ruled it. Though they killed him physically, Jesus knew that the world could not destroy him, that death had no victory or sting on him (1 Corinthians 15:54-56). In other words, he was a Boss.
Nobody in the mind right would have dared to speak as he did, claiming not only to know God but as being in and one with the Father. Nobody would have dared to challenge the law to bring a new, divine law, or to heal the sick and lame. And surely, nobody would have dared to walk around forgiving the sins of men and speaking new identities over them. Unless you went off the deep end and lost your marbles, you had to have been pretty confident in being who you claimed and acted like to be.
That was Jesus. He was the Son of God.
The identity of “sonship” is the most powerful identity in the kingdom of God. It is one of royal inheritance, power and authority. It is one of confidence and assured closeness. It is one of intimacy. To confess that Jesus is the Son of God is to confess that we, too, are sons of God. It is the confession that God came to adopt His sons with His Son. Through Christ, we are now children of God, giving us the power to speak and act as sons of the Most High.
Your identity as a son and daughter of God is one given through the life and death of Jesus himself. It comes in knowing Christ, that he is the Son of God. To know Christ is to know God, as Jesus said, “if you really know me, you will know my father as well” (John 14:7). Till this day, I still don’t know who my father truly is. I could give you his name and a few stats about his life, but that’s about it. It’s been five years since the last time I’ve seen him, but in some ways, I feel like I haven’t seen him my entire life. But it’s okay, because I know who my True and Everlasting Father is. He is the One who gives me true worth and identity, who speaks truth and life over me. And because of Christ, I know who I am. Because of Christ, I know God and He knows me. Because of the Son of God, we are sons and daughters of God.
Photograph above by Taihinhnen HD.
Miya Joo will be leading our short-term mission team that will be going to Mexico from January to August. She graduated with a BA in International Business from Biola University. She loves listening to people, finding joy in the little things, and meeting Jesus in the secret place.