Chapter 5 of  Saving Faith

JESUS AS THE SON OF MAN

by Bernie Koerselman
 


Table of Contents


Emphasis Is on Power and Authority

The heresy which teaches that salvation may be had by believing in Jesus as Savior emphasizes the redemptive act of Jesus – his death on the cross – by which he atoned for the sins of all who have faith in him.  The emphasis is on a past act.

There is no question of the importance of Christ's death; we could not have salvation without reconciliation with God and justification by God that are possible only because of Christ's gracious act of obedience.  We are to remember that.  We are commanded to commemorate the Lord's Supper in remembrance of Jesus' broken body and shed blood.  But that's not the emphasis of Scripture.

To correctly discern that emphasis, let's look again at the usage of titles of Jesus.  The most obvious title, which conveys his sovereign power and authority, is Lord.  We proved from Scripture that the Christ is Lord, and that many of the prophecies about the Christ proclaim his power and authority, as does the entire book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  Likewise, the title Son of God declares not only his power and authority, but his divinity.  Together, these three titles are used 1,198 times in the New Testament.  That is 75 times as often as the title Savior is used of Jesus.

Though to me that numerical disparity seems overwhelming, there is more.  Jesus is referred to as King thirty-five times, and as Son of Man eighty-four.  These titles also imply great power and authority.  Including the times of their usage, the titles showing the power and authority of Jesus occur more than eighty-two times as often as the title Savior.

The biblical presentation of Jesus as supreme head over all, the Lord of lords, is even stronger.  Of the sixteen times the title Savior refers to Jesus, fourteen times it is combined with a power title.  For example, on five occasions, the Savior is named:  He is Christ the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ Jesus.3   Other times the titles are simply combined:  God and Savior,4  Son and Savior,Christ and Savior,6  and Lord and Savior.7   There are only two times the title Savior is used of Jesus without power titles associated with it in the same verse.  Power titles are used over 664 times as often as the singular title Savior.8

Is God trying to make a point?  I surely believe so.  How better could he have written Scripture to make the point that it is in the living Lord Jesus Christ that we have salvation.  God's presentation of Jesus as the Lord of all was no accident.  His role as Supreme Sovereign is critical to the promises given to believers and to our role as his followers.

Let's briefly review one more power title of our Lord.

 SON OF MAN

Chapter 4 began with the dramatic confrontation between Jesus and the Jewish leaders just after he was arrested.  The high priest commanded, "I charge you under oath by the living God:  Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."9

"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you:  In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."10 

When he said that, the high priest demanded he be condemned to death.

What was special about the title, Son of Man?  Jesus used the title repeatedly during his teaching ministry.11   No one objected before when he referred to himself as the Son of Man.  For the first time, Jesus coupled the title, Son of Man, with a prophecy about the Christ.  The Jewish leaders previously hadn't understood the connection.

The prophecy was given to Daniel:

After Jesus revealed himself to the Jewish leaders as the Christ -- the Son of Man prophesied by Daniel -- we can look back and see that many statements Jesus made about the Son of Man were of the Christ.13

 Jesus Called Himself the Son of Man Instead of the Christ

When Jesus repeatedly referred to himself as the Son of Man, the people may have thought he was simply trying to identify with them.  After all, he was a man, and the son of a woman, just as they were.

I believe Jesus used a substitute for Christ which would be obvious to generations following, but was hidden from his own generation.  Had he called himself the Christ, the people would not have let him be crucified.  Instead they may have tried forcefully to make him king.  Jesus had the difficult task of proving to us, all succeeding generations, that he is the Christ, that he came and fulfilled all prophecies about the suffering Christ, while hiding that fact from his own generation.

 Evidence Proves That the Son of Man Is the Christ

To prove that he was the Christ, Jesus had to show that what would happen to him would fulfill prophecy.  To do that, he told his disciples in advance that the Son of Man would be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law,14  be betrayed,15  suffer at the hands of the Jewish leaders,16  be condemned to death and handed over to the Gentiles.17   He told them he would be killed18  (crucified),19  buried for three days and three nights,20  raised from the dead21  on the third day,22  that he would leave,23  where he would go,24  and that he would come again25  when he is not expected.26   He described the appearance of his coming.27   Jesus said that everything written about the Son of Man would be fulfilled.28

Everything that Jesus prophesied about the Son of Man that was to happen did happen.

 Son of Man Has Power and Authority

Just as with the title Christ, there are two main facets to the prophecies.  The first is that the Son of Man would suffer those things prophesied, the second that the Son of Man will have great power and authority.  Daniel prophesied that the Son of Man "was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."29

Even while in his ministry, Jesus pointed out his authority to his disciples.  When confronted with breaking the technical rules about the Sabbath, he replied, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.30

My favorite example occurred after Jesus developed a reputation for healing all manner of sickness and disease; the lame walked, the blind were able to see, the sick were cured.

Friends of a paralytic determined to take him to Jesus.  They put him on a mat and carried him to where Jesus was.  But, as expected, there was a huge crowd around the house.  Most were there for the same reason; they wanted to be healed.  Nobody would give up his place or let the paralytic through to see Jesus.

At first the friends were stymied.  Then one saw the stairs leading to the roof, and hatching a plan, they carried the paralytic there.  Determining where Jesus was in the house, they carefully began to take apart the roof in that room.
Imagine the scene when pieces fell from the ceiling into the group below.  First a hole appeared, then the light showed the faces of men who were taking the roof apart.  The people in the room scattered, but stared at the ever-widening hole.  Suddenly a mat was lowered through it into the room.  On the mat lay the paralytic.

Jesus watched all this with interest and said to the paralytic, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."

Pharisees31  and teachers of the law were present who knew God alone can forgive sins.  They thought to themselves, "Who is this fellow who blasphemes?"

Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, "Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?  Which is easier to say, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Get up and walk'?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,"  he said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home."

Immediately the paralytic stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on, and went home praising God.

Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God.  They were filled with awe and said, "We have seen remarkable things today."32   They had seen remarkable things and had heard even more astounding claims, but hadn't understood.  Jesus knew that only God could forgive sins.

By claiming to forgive sins, he was not blaspheming but instead revealing to them that he was God incarnate – God having come to earth as the Son of Man.  As the God-man, he had authority to forgive sins.


Footnotes

1  Luke 2:11:  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
2  Philippians 3:20:  But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
3  2 Timothy 1:10, Titus 1:4, 3:6:  . . . whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.
4  2 Peter 1:1.
5  1 John 4:14.
6  Ephesians 5:23.
7  2 Peter 1:1, 2:20, 3:2, and 3:18.
8  Calculated as follows:  Lord (618) + Christ (543) + Son of Man (84) + Son of God (37) + King (35) + Master (11) = 1328 divided by 2 (times Jesus is called only Savior (without a power title) = 664.
9  Matthew 26:63.
10  Matthew 26:64.
11  The title is used eighty-one times in the gospels, once in Acts, and twice in Revelation.
12  Daniel 7:13-14.
13  Daniel's prophecy showed the power and authority given to the Son of Man, that he would be Lord.  I suspect the people knew Daniel's prophecy.  If so, it would account for the conversation Jesus had with the man born blind he had healed (John 9:35-38).  Jesus asked him, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
"Who is he, sir?" the man asked.  "Tell me so that I may believe in him."
Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you."
Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him.
Why would the man believe and worship Jesus?  If he knew Daniel's prophecy, he knew the Son of Man would be the Christ and would be Lord.  Knowing that, he addressed Jesus as Lord.
14  Luke 9:22.
15  Matthew 17.22.  Also Mark 9:31, 10:33, 14:41, Luke 9:44.
16  Matthew 17:12.  Also Mark 9:12, Luke 9:22.
17  Mark 10:33.  Also Luke 24:7.
18  Mark 9:31.  Also Luke 9:22.
19  Luke 24:7.  Also John 3:14.
20  Matthew 12:40.
21  Matthew 17:9.  Also Mark 9:9,31, Luke 9:22, 24:7.
22  Luke 9:22, 24:7.
23  Luke 17:22.
24  Luke 22:69.
25  Luke 12:40.
26  Luke 12:40, 17:26.
27  Luke 17:24, 21:27.
28  Luke 18:31.
29  Daniel 7:13-14.
30  Luke 6:5.
31  Pharisees were the strictest sect of the Jewish religion.
32  Luke 5:17-26.