Powered by Fr. Abraham Mutholath Foundation NFP



There are seven sonship titles of the Messiah in the Bible:

1. The Son of God

The title “son of God” is used in the Old Testament for persons who had an intimate relationship with God. Angels, Adam, the descendants of Seth, the selected representatives of God to lead Israel like the kings, princes, and judges, just or pious men were known as the “sons of God” (Job 1:6; 2:1; Ps 89:7; Wis 2:13). God considered the nation of Israel as his first-born son (Ex 4:22). They were creations of God and not sons in the strict sense. However, Jesus is the eternally begotten Son of God. Meaning of begotten is fathered or generated by procreation. So, Jesus as the begotten son of God means he is also God. No one else can claim this position. Hence, the Son of God, when applied to Jesus, had a special meaning in the New Testament because of the divinity of Jesus. So, we capitalize the initial letter of “Son” when used for Jesus to distinguish him from other sons of God.

Luke traces the genealogy of Jesus back as the son of God (Lk 3:38) emphasizing the divine origin of Jesus. Though he was born of a woman, he had no human father. “Son of God” has a greater and unique meaning when applied for the Messiah. Angel Gabriel said to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Lk 1:35). At the time of his baptism and transfiguration, God revealed him as His Son. This divine sonship was confirmed in the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 13:32-33), (Rom 1:3-4). Peter acknowledged Jesus as “the son of the living God” (Mt 16:16) and Thomas as ‘My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28) both affirming the divinity of Jesus. Though Adam was also God’s son through direct creation, Jesus was far different from Adam.

The Church believes Jesus existed as the eternal son of God. The Nicene Creed of 325 AD states: “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.” Colossians 1:15-18 and Hebrews 1:2 mention the creation of the world through the Son of God.

The Hebrew phrase “the Son of Man” means a human being (Ezek 2:1). However, when Daniel used the same phrase for the vision (Dan 7:13), it gained divine qualities because the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven. Ordinary humans cannot travel on the clouds. Jesus chose this phrase for himself out of his humility while others used “Son of God” that gives emphasis to the divine origin of Jesus. So, it designates the human and divine nature of Jesus.

There can be only one as “the” Son of God. The Old Testament attributes “Son of God” to the angels, the kings, the chosen ones, and the children of Israel (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC] #441). They are creations of God and not sons in the strict sense. However, Jesus is the Son of God in eternity and shares the essence of God and hence he is God. Besides recognizing Jesus as a Rabbi and the eternal king of Israel,

John the Baptist had witnessed to Jesus as the Son of God (Jn 1:34). However, Nathanael was the first disciple to acknowledge the same out of his conviction based on his study of the Scriptures and his personal encounter with Jesus. This contrasts with the Jewish authorities and the Scribes who failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Instead, they accused him of blasphemy for his claim as the Son of Man (Mk 14:61-64). Besides Nathanael, many and even demons had recognized Jesus as the Son of God (Lk 4:41).

2. The Son of Adam

Luke traces the genealogy of Jesus also as the son of Adam (Lk 3:38). This title emphasizes the humanity of Jesus as an outcome of the Adamic Covenant: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.” (Gen 3:15). Thus, the promised son of Adam was to be born of a woman who would strike the head of the serpent.

3. The Son of Man

Essentially, ‘Son of Man’ stands for Jesus Christ. He used it for himself, emphasizing his humanity, while others used the ‘Son of God’ to emphasize his divinity. Both refer to Jesus as the Messiah. Here, Jesus states his mission for his incarnation. He had been doing it throughout his public life and entrusted his disciples, including us in the modern world, to continue his mission through the Church and our lives. There is no other ‘god’ who came into the world with such a mission. So, no other religion can offer us eternal salvation.

This usage has different senses: The incarnation as son of a human being, the suffering of the Messiah like a human (Mt 12:40, 17:22, 20:18-19,28), the supernatural nature of Jesus (Jn 1:51) and his second coming in glory (Dan 7:13). Jesus preferred to use “son of man” for himself out of his humility.

The Hebrew phrase “the Son of Man” means a human being (Ezek 2:1). God promised the first man, Adam, that the woman’s offspring would strike the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15). Jesus is that son of a woman who came as the second Adam. The Son of God from all eternity became the Son of Man to accomplish the mission God the Father entrusted to him. So, he qualified himself as the Son of Man, though he was also the Son of God.

The divinity of the son of man is expressed in the vision of the Prophet Daniel (7:13) because the son of man would come with the clouds of Heaven. Ordinary humans cannot travel on the clouds. Jesus chose this phrase for himself out of his humility while others used “Son of God” that gives emphasis to the divine origin of Jesus. So, it designates the human and divine nature of Jesus. When Jesus used this phrase while speaking to the Scribes, he implied his identity as the God incarnate or the Messiah.

4. The Son of Abraham

The genealogy of Matthew traces back Jesus as the son of Abraham (Mt 1:1). This shows the relationship of the Messiah to the Abrahamic Covenant. The parents circumcised Jesus on the eighth day following this covenant. Jesus was the fulfillment of Abraham’s words to his son Isaac: “My son, God will provide the sheep for the burnt offering.” (Gen 22:8). Though God saved Isaac’s life by replacing a ram, the real replacement took place with Jesus, the lamb of God, who was sacrificed on the same mountain. All the three promises God made to Abraham were fulfilled in Israel and continued to fulfill in Jesus. Through Jesus, God selected the descendants of faith, promised a perfect dwelling place for the faithful, and a blessing to all nations through the faithful.

5. The Son of David

Luke gives the genealogy of Mary tracing back to King David, where he states that Jesus’ legal father was also from the lineage of David as a fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. Mathew starts his gospel with the genealogy of Jesus asserting him also as the Son of David (Mt 1:1). The emphasis here is on the royalty or kingship of Jesus and as the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.

“Son of David” is one of the Messianic titles of Jesus. Matthew starts his gospel stating, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Mt 1:1). Isaiah prophesied the birth of the Messiah: “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counsellor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, upon David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgement and justice, both now and forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!” (Isa 9:5-6).

“Son of David” was a Messianic title originating from the covenant God made with King David around one thousand years before Christ. When King David asked permission from God through Prophet Nathan to construct a house for the Lord, the Lord did not allow his wish. However, God promised to David: “when your days have been completed and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, sprung from your loins, and I will establish his kingdom. He it is who shall build a house for my name, and I will establish his royal throne forever” (2 Sam 7:12-13).

Though Solomon built the Temple, the promise of God that “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Sam 7:13) did not happen in the life of Solomon. He ruled for only 40 years and committed sin, especially during his later age. So, God said, “If he does wrong, I will reprove him with a human rod and with human punishments” (2 Sam 7:14). This only applied to Solomon and not to the Messiah, who was God who took human flesh. God continued in verse 16: “Your house and your kingdom are firm forever before me; your throne shall be firmly established forever.” Thus, “forever” is repeated thrice (verses 13 and 16) emphasizing the everlasting nature of David’s greater son and his Kingdom.

Because of God’s promise to David that his son would establish his kingdom firmly forever, the Israelites have been hoping for an everlasting king from the line of David to sit on the throne of David and to rule the kingdom for eternity with no failure. God revealed this son of David through Angel Gabriel to Mary, the mother of the Messiah. “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:32-33).

Matthew starts his gospel stating: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” The New Testament uses Son of David” seventeen times in the New Testament for Jesus, meaning that he was the promised and long-awaited Messiah. Jesus was a direct descendant of David through Mary and his adopted father Joseph as per the genealogy of Luke and Matthew. Because of this, Jesus has the title, the Son of David.

Jesus was a direct descendant of David through Mary and his adopted father Joseph as per the genealogy of Luke and Matthew. Luke gives the genealogy of Mary tracing back to King David, where he states that Jesus’ legal father, Joseph, was also from the lineage of David as a fulfilment of the Davidic Covenant. The emphasis here is on the royalty or kingship of Jesus from David’s lineage.

Angel’s salutation of “son of David” to Joseph is not the messianic title. It is an acknowledgement of Joseph’s birth from the bloodline of King David, from whose line the deliverer would come. So, Joseph, as the legal father, also had a role in the genealogy of the Messiah. There is a difference between using “son” by translators: they use “Son of David” for Jesus and “son of David” for Joseph.

People who sought the mercy of Jesus addressed him as “Son of David.” A Canaanite woman called Jesus, “Lord, Son of David” when she beseeched him to cure her demon-tormented daughter (Mt 15:22). Two blind men requested healing from Jesus, calling him, “Lord, Son of David.” (Mt 20:30). The people acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah by proclaiming, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matthew 21:9) during his triumphant entry into the temple of Jerusalem. In these cases, they were acknowledging Jesus as their savior using the term Lord and the Messianic title “Son of David.”

In answer to Jesus’ question, the Pharisees answered the Messiah must be the Son of David. That was a popular expectation of the public regarding Messiah. Though Pharisees’ answer was correct, Jesus challenged their response to prove that Messiah was more than a descendant of David (Mt 22:41-46).

There were times when “All in the crowd were amazed and wondered, ‘Could he be the Son of David?’” (Mt 12:23). The question on the “Son of David” was a disputed topic among the people who witnessed and admired the miracles Jesus performed. As usual, they had different opinions about Jesus, such as John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or a prophet (Mt 16:14). The people knew the family and native place of Jesus. He did not show any sign of royalty in his lifestyle. He declined to accept the royal throne when people insisted on him becoming their king (Jn 6:15). However, no other prophet had worked so many miracles as Jesus. So, people had different opinions on his divine identity. Some people believed him to be the Son of David.

6. The Son of Mary

Jesus is also known as son of Mary (Mk 6:3) emphasizing his human origin from Mary. His humanity came only from Mary, who was also from the Davidic line according to the genealogy given by Luke. Jesus had the royal blood of King David through his son Nathan and his descendants.

7. The Son of Joseph

Some people considered Jesus as son of Joseph (Mt 13:55, Jn 6:42) because Joseph was his foster father from the Davidic line. The genealogy of Jesus that Matthew presents traces back Joseph to Solomon, the son of David.

Jesus, who led a humble life in Nazareth along with Joseph and Mary until he was 30, was known as the son of Joseph. Most people did not know of his virgin birth and that Joseph was his foster father. A child could also be titled as the son of his legal father. Joseph was legally married to Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus. There are other instances when he was referred to as “son of Joseph” (Lk 4:22, Jn 6:42). When Mary found 12-year-old Jesus in the Temple after searching for him for three days, she said of Joseph, “Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety” (Lk 2:48).


1. Embracing Our Divine Sonship
As Christians, we are privileged to be called sons and daughters of God through baptism. This divine sonship grants us the unique honor to call God “Abba” (Father). Let us cherish this relationship and strive to live according to His will, reflecting His love and grace in our daily lives.

2: Recognizing Jesus’s Divine Nature
Jesus, the eternally begotten Son of God, shares the essence of God Himself. As Peter and Thomas acknowledged, Jesus is truly the Son of the living God and our Lord and Savior. Let us deepen our faith in His divinity and recognize His role in our lives as the source of salvation and eternal life.

3: Understanding Jesus’s Humanity
Jesus, the Son of Man, embraced humanity fully while maintaining His divine nature. His humility and willingness to suffer for our sake demonstrate His profound love for us. Let us follow His example of humility and self-sacrifice, living out His teachings with compassion and grace.

4: The Fulfillment of Ancient Promises
Jesus’s titles, such as the Son of Abraham and the Son of David, highlight His fulfillment of God’s ancient promises. He is the long-awaited Messiah who brings blessings to all nations and establishes an eternal kingdom. Let us rejoice in the faithfulness of God and trust in His promises for our lives.

5: Honoring Our Spiritual Heritage
Jesus, the Son of Mary and the Son of Joseph, connects us to a rich spiritual heritage. Through His earthly parents, He fulfilled the prophecies and covenants of old. Let us honor our spiritual heritage by living faithfully and passing on the legacy of faith to future generations.

6: Living as Children of God
Our identity as children of God calls us to a higher standard of living. We are called to honor God in all we do, seek reconciliation when we fall, and embody His love in our interactions with others. Let us commit to living out our divine sonship with integrity and devotion.

7: Reflecting on Jesus’s Mission
Jesus, the Son of Man and the Son of God, came to accomplish a divine mission of salvation. As His followers, we are entrusted with continuing His mission through the Church and our personal lives. Let us actively participate in spreading the Gospel and serving others, fulfilling our role in God’s plan.

8: Reconciliation and Renewal
Like the prodigal son, we may stray from our Father’s path. However, God’s love and forgiveness are always available to us. Let us seek reconciliation with God, renew our commitment to Him, and embrace the joy and peace that come from living in His grace.

©Bibleinterpretation.org. All Rights Reserved 2024