Summary: Some important truths concerning Jesus’ use of this title.
Jesus, Son of Man
Woodlawn Baptist Church
Whether we were ready or not, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we are now in those few weeks that will be spent in the mad rush of shopping and preparing for meals, for family, decorating, visiting, and so forth, all so that Christmas will be pulled off without a hitch.
As Christians everywhere begin to set their minds in that direction, the birth of our Savior automatically comes to mind, and we are reminded of it daily by the manger scenes, the commercials, and such things as those. We call this birth the incarnation, the fancy word for Jesus’ act of taking on humanity, yet remaining fully God. We don’t and can’t understand all we would like to about this act, but we accept by faith that God sent His only begotten Son, "who, being in the form of God … made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men…" so that we might be saved.
In our text this morning, Jesus makes reference to that purpose; "the Son of man came to seek and save that which was lost." We understand the purpose, but why does Jesus refer to Himself as "the Son of man"? This is an interesting title, and one that is used of Jesus over 80 times in the New Testament; but only 3 times is it used by someone other than Jesus. The other 82 times He uses it to speak of Himself.
This morning I want us to consider this title, "The Son of Man" and realize some important truths concerning Jesus’ use of it.
I. The title "Son of man" is a declaration of Jesus’ deity.
Read Daniel 7:13-14. In this prophecy, Daniel spoke clearly of One called the Son of man who would come before the Ancient of days, God that is, who would give to this Son of man dominion, and glory, and an eternal kingdom.
The Jews had been awaiting this One for hundreds of years, and we know from our study of Scripture that they were looking for a majestic king who would ride in and establish his kingdom, restoring Jerusalem and delivering them from the oppression of the Romans. We see this in the birth of Jesus. Those who came before Him presented Him with the gifts of a king, and they bowed to worship the babe. Herod was so afraid of this new king that he ordered the murders of a multitude of babies, trying to destroy the baby Jesus.
So when Jesus began referring to Himself as the Son of man, He was not just pulling a name out of thin air, He was declaring to all who listened that He was THE Son of man. He was the One who would come in the clouds. He was the One who would come before the Ancient of Days! He was the One to whom all dominion and glory and the eternal kingdom would be given! He was the King of kings and the Lord of lords!
This is why the words of Jesus were no empty threats to the Pharisees when He said things like He did in:
Mt. 13:41 – "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity."
Mt. 16:27-28 – "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, there be come standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."
Mk. 13:26 – "And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory."
These statements incited the Pharisees to great anger and they wanted to kill Jesus because in calling Himself the Son of man, Jesus was identifying Himself as deity, God in the flesh. Look at Matthew 16:13-16. The Pharisees couldn’t get it, but Jesus wanted to make sure His disciples did. The same question needs to be answered by you today. "Who do you say that Jesus, the Son of man is?" "The Son of man came to seek and to save that which is lost." But if Jesus, the Son of man is not deity, if you cannot recognize that He is fully God, then you are just as condemned as the blind Pharisees.
The Word of God is really wonderful. This is an obscure little title that is so often overlooked; yet it is a powerful declaration of the deity of Christ.
II. The title "Son of man" is a declaration of Jesus’ humanity.