JESUS AS THE SON OF MAN
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,1 the Lord Jesus Christ,2 and Christ Jesus.3 Other times the titles are simply combined: God and Savior,4 Son and Savior,5 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.
"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:
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.
Everything that Jesus prophesied about the Son of Man that was to happen did happen.
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.