Names of Jesus: Son of God and Son of Man

“And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:34)

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

Jesus is called both Son of God and Son of Man. If these ideas seem at odds with each other, that’s because they are, especially in ancient times when the idea of sonship was more holistic. One’s identity came from their lineage. Their family history, whose son they were, was an essential part of themselves. It’s strange then that Jesus is the Son of God and Man. But it is essential to our understanding of Jesus’ life and ministry. He is not half of each, but fully both.

Jesus is fully God. He says in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” Jesus is holy and sinless. All things were created through him and for him. He is our heavenly king whose power and dominion will reign forever. He created us. He sustains us. He empowers us. He is the giver of life and the Lord over all. He is fully God. But here’s where things get interesting…

Jesus is fully man. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. Jesus lived in human flesh. He was tempted to sin. He suffered and felt pain. He labored long hours. He smelled bad and went to the bathroom. He had human friends and family. He dealt with the everyday stuff of life the same way we do. God became man. This is called the incarnation.

But how can someone be fully God and fully man? I don’t know. And nobody else does either. It is a mystery, but that shouldn’t stop us from believing it and rejoicing in it. The Apostle Paul calls the gospel a mystery constantly in his writing. There are things about God that we cannot understand. The dual nature of Christ is one of them.

Jesus’ incarnation is what makes his life and work meaningful to us 2000 years later. If he was not God, then he would have been just a great teacher killed for his beliefs. If he was not a man, then his actions would have no direct effect on mankind. It’s because he became a human that he was able to save humans. Romans 5:19 says, “For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.” Jesus could only bridge the separation between God and man because he was God and man.

St. Augustine writes this about the incarnation: “Man's maker was made man that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother's breast; that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on its journey; that Truth might be accused of false witnesses, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might grow weak; that the Healer might be wounded; that Life might die.”