A reader named Mikael left a comment about what about cases where Son of God is simply taken to be the Messiah? Now there could be cases where this happens, but as I had said in the earlier blog, the context determines the meaning. Thus, let’s see if there are passages that can indicate that more is being said than that Jesus is simply the Messiah.
Now I do believe there were several beliefs that would see the Messiah as divine in some sense, but one thing is worth pointing out. Because you claimed to be the Messiah, it did not mean that you were guilty of blasphemy. Most would-be messiahs did not even make that claim. They just built up armies and then came to nothing.
Yet we never see this with Jesus. Jesus never raised up an army, although it could be some thought that he was going to. When the triumphant entry takes place, Jesus does not enter Jerusalem riding on a horse. Instead, he enters riding on a donkey. The horse would be the method of transportation of a conquering general. Jesus doesn’t go that route. Instead, he does make a messianic claim that comes from Zechariah 9, but he is not coming as if he’s a warrior.
Most revealing I believe are texts such as the one we covered earlier in Mattew 26.
62The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?”
63But Jesus kept silent And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”
64Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”
What would it meant had Jesus claimed to be the Messiah? He could have been sentenced for insurrection maybe. He could have just been seen as crazy. He would not have been seen as one who was guilty of blasphemy. Yet let us look at how the high priest responded.
65Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy;
66what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!”
67Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him,
68and said, “Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?”
He is seen as worthy of death for the claim of who he is and then told to prophesy and say who hit him. In other words, Jesus should have known this since he was the Son of God. This is a case where Son of God definitely means more than just Messiah.
Notice also this passage later in John 10 which we will cover more when we get there:
35“If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),
36do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
Note again the claim between blasphemy and claiming to be the Son of God. In fact, in that passage, he had not claimed to be the Son of God but had said “I and the Father are one.” (I urge the reader to see the whole passage.)
My conclusion then is that the context again determines the meaning. When asked, have the person go to the passage where they think this is referenced and then go to passages where you don’t think that will fly, like the ones I’ve just shown.