Email question: How can Jesus be God and the Son of God?
Historically, Jesus being called the “Son of God,” a Jew would have equated this title to calling Jesus the one true God. Jews were monotheistic (belief in only one God) and would never have believed God the Father had an offspring called the Son. Jehovah Witnesses contend, Son of God points to Jesus being a “lesser” god; a created being. Isaiah 43-48 clearly teaches there is only one God and refutes the idea of another god. The Jews during the time of Jesus would never have believed in a lesser god, a “son of god,” a belief that was not monotheistic. Therefore, when Jesus was called the Son of God or called himself the Son of God He was claiming to be fully God. This of course was blasphemy, worthy of death.
This argument can be supported by the Bible. We read in John 5:15-18; 25 (NASB) “The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” 18 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God… 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Jesus not only called himself the Son of God in verse 25 but in verse 17 he called God His Father; to the Jews this was blasphemy, making himself equal with God.
Additional support can be found in John 10:29-33 (NASB) [Jesus speaking] “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 “I and the Father are one.” 31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” Again Jesus calls God His Father, indicating He is the “Son of God” (John 5:18) and making an obvious claim of being God. The penalty for claiming to be God was death (blasphemy); hence the Jews wanted to stone Jesus.
Lastly, we read in John 20:28-31 (NASB) “Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said* to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” 30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” Here we see Thomas a monotheistic Jew calling Jesus God. In fact the actual translation Greek to English in verse 28 reads “The God of me and the Lord of me.” Notice Jesus does not rebuke Thomas for calling him God; instead he commends him for his belief. This is one of the clearest statements in the Bible where Jesus is called God. The Apostle John states that much more could have been written about Jesus, but these particular writings were to help people come to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
In summary the title Son of God is given to Jesus to establish He is fully God and fully man.