These notes accompany the sermon found here.
The Only Son, John 1:14-18 μονογενής [monogenes / mon·og·en·ace /]
Son of God
- Jewish context: The Old Testament used the term to refer to kings, heavenly beings, and Israel. By Jesus’ time, it could also being used of a righteous person, the people of God after the restoration, and in a few cases, a messianic, eschatological figure sent by God.
- Graeco-Roman context: The term was sometimes used of certain Roman rulers and/or their children once they were recognized as divine.
- Jesus is a divinely chosen king. Mark 1:11 with Psalm 2:7. The one given the right to rule over all things. Romans 8:3-4; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.
- Jesus is a divine Son of God. Mark 9:7; Acts 13:33; Romans 1:3-4.
- See also John 5:25, 10:31-36; Romans 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
- Old Testament: “Son of God” refers to kings, heavenly beings, and Israel.
- New Testament: “Son of God” refers to Jesus and to believers.
- So John uses monogenes “one and only.”
- Traditional: From monos (only) and gennao (to beget), therefore meaning “only begotten.”
- After more evidence: From monos (only) and genos (kindred, kind, sort), therefore meaning “one and only” or “only unique.”
- As an only son/child: Luke 7:12, 8:42, 9:38;
- Of Jesus: John 1:14, 1:18, 3:16, 3:18; 1 John 4:9.
- Of Isaac: Hebrews 11:17.
- John’s use of this term separates Jesus from being a created heavenly being or a righteous person.
- Monogenes by itself does not convey the uniqueness of Christ above all other divine or human persons. But the fact that John’s every use of the word is in the context of explaining unique qualities of Christ clearly elevates Him above all other persons created or divine.
The Unique Son of God
- John 1:14, uniquely glorious; full of grace and truth.
- John 1:18, uniquely revealing God.
- John 3:16, the only one who provides eternal life.
- John 3:18, the only one who can deliver from condemnation.
- 1 John 4:9, the only one through whom the love of God was made manifest.
- The only Son of God inherits the kingdom and shares it with whom he desires.
- As the unique Son of God, Jesus Christ will not fail.
- We do not need to seek another.