Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Son of Man
The Word for today:
mark this: Ezekiel 2:3-5
"Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day.
For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God.'
As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse--for they are a rebellious house--yet they will know that a prophet has been among them."
"Son of Man." The phrase is found 100 times in the book of Ezekiel, and it's found a few times in the book of Daniel. It also happens to be, far and away, Jesus' favorite description of himself. He described himself that way 86 times.
Why? What made it his favorite self-description?
I can't speak for Jesus, but I think the phrase was his favorite because it could mean so many things.
It means he's one of us.
The prophet Isaiah said that unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given (1). That child, born to all of us, is Jesus--"Son of Man."
It means he's God.
One of the most well-known prophecies of the promised Messiah ("the Anointed") occurs in Daniel:
"I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
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." (Daniel 7:13-14)
When the high priest demanded to know if he were the Son of God, Jesus replied that he is the Son of Man!--specifically that Son of Man, the one described in Daniel's prophecy:
Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?"
And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." (Mark 14:61-62)
That the high priest knew Jesus was declaring his deity when he invoked this title is seen by his reaction:
And the high priest tore his garments and said, "What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?" And they all condemned him as deserving death. (Mark 14:63-64)
It means he came to save everyone.
One person, his mother, could claim him as "Son of Mary" (2). One nation, Israel, could lay their claim to him as "Son of David" (3). But as "Son of Man," he came to rescue us all:
"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." (Luke 19:10)
Finally, most personally and profoundly, the title was a reminder of his mission. For in order to save the lost, he moved, every day, ever closer to the cross.
The law said that sin would have real consequences; that the sins of the fathers would be visited upon the children:
He does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation. (Exodus 34:7)
Jesus, as the Son of Man, would be punished for the sins of every one of his "parents"--
For the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (4).
And he will be mourned, like an only son, by those whose sins caused him to die on the cross:
They will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10)
"Son of Man" meant a lot to Jesus. It sure means a lot to us.
(1) Isaiah 9:6; (2) Mark 6:3; (3) Matthew 21:9; (4) Isaiah 53:6