In our last study, we saw that the phrase “the Son of Man” was Jesus’ favorite description of Himself. The Gospel writers quoted Jesus using the phrase to describe Himself more than 80 times. Interestingly, that phrase is not found in any of the Apostles’ letters. The only other person to use the phrase was Stephen in Acts 7:55-56 as a description of his vision of Heaven – “But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” That remark by Stephen led to his death by stoning. Jews in the 1st Century A.D. understood that Stephen was claiming that Jesus, Who they had murdered, was alive in Heaven and the Son of Man from Daniel’s vision centuries earlier.
Here are some of the more than 80 times in the Gospels where Jesus used the term “the Son of Man” for Himself. Remember that the interpretation of Daniel’s vision included the Son of Man being the Most High King with an everlasting Kingdom. Notice how Jesus weaves His being the Son of Man with actions that only God could do.
“But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins’—then He said to the paralytic, ‘Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Matthew 9:6
“For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:8
“Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:40-42
“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” Matthew 16:27
“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Matthew 18:11
“So Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Matthew 19:28
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:30
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.” Matthew 25:31
“No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.” John 3:13
“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.” John 5:26-27
“So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him.” John 13:31
“But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, ‘I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!” Matthew 26:63-65
The religious leaders had been trying for months to get Jesus to say something that would support their desire to kill Him. Finally, in answer to the high priest’s direction question – “Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God’ – Jesus replied, It is as you said.” Jesus answered a direct question with a direct answer – He is the Christ, the Son of God. Then, Jesus added one more description of Himself – “… the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” It was at that point the high priest tore his clothes, saying that Jesus had spoken blasphemy. The high priest, and all the other Jews who were watching, knew that Jesus had quoted from Daniel 7 claiming to be the Most High God.
Here is how the same occasion is recorded in the Gospel of Mark.
“And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, ‘Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?’ But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ Jesus said, ‘I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?’ And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.” Mark 14:60-64
In less than 10 seconds Jesus summed up everything He had claimed about Himself during His earthly ministry. Jesus presented Himself to the religious leaders of Israel as the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Blessed (Son of God), and Son of Man (Daniel’s vision of the Most High coming on the clouds of Heaven to establish His eternal Kingdom). The high priest and all those who were with him believed that Jesus had blasphemed by claiming to be God and was deserving of death. Several hours later Jesus died on the Cross. Three days later He rose from the dead, just as He said He would.
“The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” Luke 9:22
In our next study, we will see how Jesus lived His Life on earth in a manner consistent with God appearing on earth as a Man.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”