For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.(John 3:16)
The gift of God, which is eternal life, or being “Born from above” has been made possible because the Righteous and Holy God made a righteous way to redeem us sinners. That way involved offering up his “only begotten Son” as a propitiation (sin offering) for us.
What is meant by the mysterious term, “only begotten Son”? This is how Jesus describes himself in John 3:16. We are delving here into the mysteries of the Godhead, so we must tread reverently, and assume at the outset that we could never fully understand Jesus. We can only humbly receive God’s self-revelation, to the extent that we are able.
Jesus himself said as much when he proclaimed, “… no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” . (Matthew 11:27)
Only God the Father can fully understand Jesus and only Jesus can fully understand the Father. For us there is only partial (but adequate) revelation of the Father and the Son.
Perhaps we should begin by saying what Jesus is not saying, when he refers to Himself as “the only begotten Son” of the Father.
* He is not saying that there was ever a time when He didn’t exist. Jesus didn’t originate in Bethlehem. He came into the world there, but Jesus is from everlasting, as Micah announced,
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.(Micah 5:2)
Isaiah echoes this in a familiar passage,
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.(Isaiah 9:6)
* This is not a reference to Jesus’ human mother. The apostle John says of Him , No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.(John 1:18)
The “only begotten Son” is an eternal term, it refers to “He who was in the Bosom of the Father”, but who came to reveal God to us. The Son of God is eternal, long before there was a nativity at Bethlehem, He existed as this Proverb affirms,
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell? (Proverbs 30:4)
* We are definitely not saying that Jesus was created. The Son of God is the creator of all things,as well as the sustainer. He is called “the firstborn of Creation” in Colossians 1, but that is a reference to the fact that the New Creation, began at the resurrection of Jesus.It is also a reference to the pre-eminence of Jesus in Creation.
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.(Colossians 1:15-18)
The phrase “Only Begotten Son” is a translation of a greek word in the text, “monogenes”. Jesus is the one and only unique Son of God. You and I by New Birth are accepted into the familial fellowship of God. We get to be “sons of God” by adoption, and impartation of eternal life.
Mankind derives its concept of Fatherhood and Sonship from the ultimate and eternal Father and Son within the Godhead. No matter how warped and misrepresented, ilial devotion, and paternal love come from the Godhead.
Jesus is the “monogenes”, the only unique Son of the Father. He is eternal Son of God, who from of old was in communion with the Father and the Spirit. Thus, Jesus is truly unique. There is no other person like him and there never can be. The Son of God, who from eternity existed in love, communion and subordination to the Father, was sent by the Father to this earth, to become a man, that he might enter into our lot, suffer and die for us as a substitute.
It boggles the mind, that for sinners,rebels and the ruined,warped, perverse race of men, God would send who? His only begotten Son! This is what it took to rescue us, and to bring about a “new birth”for fallen men.
Behold the Love of Jesus for the Father! ”
Then said Jesus unto them,
When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.(John 8:28-29)
And the Love of the Father for the Son…“This is my beloved Son and in Him I am well pleased…”
That the eternal Father would send the blessed and eternal Son, from heaven, to save us from our sins…and that the ever obedient Son, would subordinate himself to the point of death and shame for us, to do the will of His Father, such mysteries are incomprehensible!
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.(I John 4:14-16)
Amazing Love How can it be? Behold the love of Father and the Son, for a lost, rebellious, ungrateful and estranged world!
“For God so loved the World that He gave his Only Begotten Son…”