Daniel 7:13 “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.”
One thing that is quite evident when searching scriptures are the myriad of titles attributed to Jesus. I’ve tried to explore a few of these different titles to help me understand how God reveals Himself to mankind.
The title Jesus refers to most often is Son of Man. This reference is one that has always intrigued me, as a son of man myself I find it difficult as to why this term is so significant, this alone causes me to ponder that there must be something more I’m not understanding.
Matthew 12:32 “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”
Jesus uses the term ‘Son of Man’ a total of 88 times in the New Testament. When Stephen was being executed for his faith, his dying statement declares he witnessed God revealing the Son of Man standing at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. (Acts 7:56)
When I asked my oldest son what thoughts come to mind when I mention the term Son of Man, he responded how it seemed to focus on the humanity of Christ. My initial thoughts were the same as my son until I started digging further into scripture.
1 John 4:2 “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,”
There is no doubt that Jesus wanted to convey his humanity, John made it very clear through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that it is important to recognize this fact. Jesus didn’t come as a angel, he likewise didn’t come just as a man or through some incestuous relationship by God, He came from Heaven as himself, He declared His glory by the way He lived.
The term son of man is not one that is exclusive to Jesus. God called Ezekiel son of man 93 times, indicating his position before a Just and Holy God.
So what does this title indicate when Jesus is referring to Himself?
The Attributes of the Messiah
- The Humility of Christ. Jesus stepped out of His throne of power and justice to enter into a state of weakness and vulnerability. He chose to subject Himself to the ridicule and abuse of mankind, knowing that He had a greater purpose in coming. Philippians 2:5-8 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
- The Deity of Christ. Jesus was the ultimate example of what mankind is meant to be. He exemplified oneness with the Father, He demonstrated the power of God but didn’t exalt himself, He demonstrated perfect love, and authority over all of creation while modeling and proclaiming the gospel. Colossians 2:9 “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity dwells in bodily form.” Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, able to forgive sins, save lives, rise from the dead, execute justice, and ultimately will return in glory to establish His sovereignty over the Earth.
- The fulfillment of Prophecy. At Jesus’ trial before the high priest He declared to him the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel. Matthew 26:64 “Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Jesus’ response to the high priest was a revelation of His position. People often criticize scripture by stating Jesus never proclaimed Himself to be God, this conclusion is a result of not understanding how Jesus subtly revealed His deity without acting in pride. Psalm 8:4-6 “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit Him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands You have put all things under his feet” This prophecy in Psalm was confirmed by the author of Hebrews in chapter 2:6-8.
Unique in Position
Jesus wasn’t just any son of man, He was THE Son of Man. In other words, Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise from the inception of Creation.
Embedded within the original Hebrew are constant reminders that God associates Himself with the promised Son, coming forth from His habitation, to redeem a people for Himself.
The very name of God in the most simple form is YHVH–which means “behold the hand, behold the nail”. Marked within the identity of God is Jesus. Daniel prophesied of His glorious return and Jesus fulfilled that prophecy perfectly.
Daniel 7:14 “Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.”
The very Son of Man whom Daniel professed 250 years earlier was the Messiah, Jesus wanted everyone to understand very clearly that this person was Him.
The question asked by so many people….was Jesus God? Can be answered by no one other than Jesus Himself. Not only did Jesus firmly establish Himself as the Messiah by fulfilling every prophecy concerning the Son of Man, He declared it over and over again by the references He gives for Himself.
The question now is, since Jesus has made it clear, how will you respond?
Is Jesus Lord of your life or will He only be an historic figure to you? Following Christ must be everything. Coming off the recent celebration of Easter also brings the reminder of how so many people make their biannual pilgrimage to a church as a nominal gesture of goodwill. One day, those nominal gestures won’t be worth the minimal effort that went into them.
Luke 9:26 “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
If the Son of Man is your King, be bold in your statement of faith. Stand firm on the foundation that He provided and never turn back. One day, we will see Him in all His glory and worship before Him, giving Him the praise He deserves.