- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Bible Questions and answers about Jesus Christ
- Published on Thursday, 19 November 2009 17:02
In the Gospels, the Lord refers to Himself as the Son of Man on 53 occasions. In all but one of these, the words could be translated literally "the Son of the Man," a form only used of Christ in the Scriptures. On the other occasion, the form is "Son of Man," the same construction used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament on every occasion "son of man" appears. To give some perspective, in the gospel records the Lord referred to Himself as "the Christ" on eight occasions. He referred to Himself as Lord on ten occasions. We have five recorded incidents when He stated He is the Son of God.
But why this emphasis? In Daniel’s prophecy (7:13), at least three truths are related to the Son of Man: His authority, His coming, His rejection. In contrast to others whose dominion would be taken from them, the Son of Man receives authority that will never pass away (v 14). His coming is with the clouds of heaven (v 13). That His rejection precedes His coming is evident in linking two other Old Testament passages with this prophecy. He is a man Who comes from heaven. This is parallel to the teaching of Psalm 110 (verses 1-3), where the coming ruler has enemies and his own people are unwilling for Him to reign over them while He is sitting at God’s right hand. Add to that verse 17 of Psalm 80, which appears to be messianic and links "the Man of Thy right hand" (His ascension) with "the Son of Man."
In at least seven of the recorded 53 occasions, He emphasizes His authority: over the Sabbath, the forgiveness of sins, all judgment, and entrance to the kingdom. Comparing Psalm 8 (v 4) and Hebrews 2 (vv 6-9), we conclude that the dominion over all the works of God’s hands was lost by Adam, the son of man, and now belongs to Jesus, the Son of Man, although all things are not yet put under to Him.
On at least 17 of these 53 occasions, the Lord is referring to His coming again - and always His coming to earth. He is anticipating His coming glory.
At least 26 of the occasions when He calls Himself the Son of Man, the Lord is emphasizing His rejection - including His death, burial, resurrection, or ascension. This is then a predominant thought associated with His title as the Son of Man.
As in Psalm 8 and various other passages, the term "son" does not always refer to physical generation, but refers rather to character (e. g., sons of Belial; see also Eph 2:2 JND and Mat 23:31, JND). The Son of Man embodies all that God ever intended a man to be.
His reasons for using this title so often, then, may be to emphasize His messiahship, coming glory, rejection, authority, and perfection, showing that He was both like, yet distinct from, every other man.