Jesus is the Son of Man

There is a name for Jesus which is used 82 times in the Gospels. It is the name Jesus used most often for Himself. That name is “The Son of Man.” Instead of saying “I”, Jesus would often refer to Himself in the third person as “The Son of Man.” But what does that mean? And what does it mean for us that Jesus is “The Son of Man.”
First, we need to be clear about one thing. “The Son of Man” was not a title in use in first century Palestine so that everybody would know what Jesus meant when He used it of Himself. Although there are echoes from the Old Testament which we will see in a few minutes, “The Son of Man” was NOT a specific person found in the Old Testament. If it meant anything in the world Jesus lived in, “Son of Man” just meant a human being, or perhaps, “a man like me.” So we need to understand that when Jesus called Himself “The Son of Man” that title didn’t have a whole bundle of ideas already associated with it. The phrase means what Jesus used it to mean.
Jesus did not announce Himself as the Messiah. In the synoptic Gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke Jesus generally did not call Himself the Son of God, or even the Son, but rather “The Son of Man”. In John’s Gospel Jesus usually referred to Himself as the Son, but even there He also called Himself the Son of Man sometimes. There are four threads we can pick out of the ways Jesus spoke of Himself as the Son of Man. But as we do so, just a reminder that this series is about Knowing God Better. So our principal purpose is to learn things which help us develop our relationships with God, particularly in our prayer and our worship and everyday Christian living. How does the fact that Jesus is The Son of Man affect the way we think and feel about our Saviour, and how we speak to Him and how we trust and depend upon Him in our daily lives?

As the Son of Man Jesus shared all our human experiences
We don’t generally find the phrase “The Son of Man” very often in the Old Testament. When we do it usually means “a human being” and stresses the mortality of human beings and the “smallness” of humanity in comparison to the Almighty and Eternal God..
Psalm 144 3 O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?
4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.
Psalm 8 3When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

In calling Himself The Son of Man Jesus was emphasising His complete humanity and His solidarity with all human beings, and especially with the poor and the oppressed and the marginalised.
Matt 8 20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Matt 11 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ’
Matt 20 26 whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Zacchaeus Luke 19 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
The Son of Man shared all our human experiences and there is one aspect of the human condition which The Son of Man particularly identified Himself with.
As the Son of Man Jesus suffered as a human being
Matt 17 22 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

Matt 26 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man!”
John 3 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
So the Son of Man was completely human.
The Son of Man suffered as a human being, completely human. Yet at the same time as He took that title for Himself, Jesus said and did things which proved He was much more than just a human being.
As the Son of Man Jesus has unique authority
Matt 9 4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 And the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.
Matt 128 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Matt 12 39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.
So although He called Himself The Son of Man, Jesus’s disciples came to realise Who He really was!
Matt 16 13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

The Son of Man has unique authority. But there’s more! At the same time as confirming His humanity, Jesus was revealing bit by bit that there is much more to The Son of Man than that.
As the Son of Man Jesus has a glorious destiny!
Matt 13 36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.

Matt 16 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

Matt 19 28 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
I said earlier that in the Old Testament the phrase Son of Man usually just meant “human beings.” One exception to that is the Book of Ezekiel whether God addresses his prophet time and again as “son of man.” But the one really interesting use of “Son of Man” comes in a vision of God we read about in Daniel chapter 7.

Daniel 7 9 “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.
10A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. ….
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

So here we see God give authority over all things and an everlasting dominion and an indestructible kingdom, to “one like a son of man”. Jesus is clearly referring to Daniel 7 when He is teaching in Jerusalem about the last days.
Luke 21 25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Finally at the end of His life, on trial before the High Priest, Jesus reveals that The Son of Man is indeed that “One like a Son of Man” foretold by Daniel.
Matt 26 63 The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
64 “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
This is the glorious destiny of “One like a Son of Man.” And Jesus claims that be be His own destiny as He defends Himself before the High Priest. When Jesus admits that He is that “Son of Man” , He is admitting that, yes, He is indeed the Christ, the Son of God! And with hindsight and the eye of faith we might see that amazing claim every time Jesus refers to Himself as “The Son of Man.” Completely human, yet at the same time the Christ, the Son of God, whose destiny is to sit at the right hand of God and one day to come again in glory on the clouds of heaven.
So here is Jesus, “The Son of Man.” As the Son of Man Jesus shared all our human experiences. As the Son of Man Jesus suffered as a human being. As the Son of Man Jesus has unique authority. As the Son of Man Jesus has a glorious destiny!
Wisdom unsearchable, God the invisible, Love indestructible In frailty appears.
Lord of infinity, Stooping so tenderly, Lifts our humanity To the heights of His throne.
O what a mystery, Meekness and majesty.
Bow down and worship For this is your God, This is your God.


You may also like...

Comments are closed.