Sunday, October 21, 2007

Son of Man

Recently we've been studying in our Bible lessons about the humanity of Christ. One area of indication of His humanity is found in the names He is given or gives Himself.

Jesus (Yeshua) is the name provided for his humanity, one shared by four other Israelites, including Joshua the son of Nun, who took over from Moses and led the Jews in taking the promised land.

Son of David is a title that linked Him to His ancestor David (a man) and to the royal promises that would be fulfilled by the Messiah (as a man -- a descendant of David who would sit on the throne of Israel forever).

One name in the New Testament is especially meaningful because it was the name He often gave Himself: Son of Man. This was the title that linked him to the earth, His mission and His humanity, even as it focused on his lowliness and humanity.

The Son of Man has no place to lay his head. (Mt 8:20)

The Son of Man came eating and drinking = human activity.(Mt 11:19)

This name also focused on his suffering and death. "The Son of Man must be delivered over to sinful men...and be crucified and die and rise again..." (Lk 24:7) Any focus on suffering and death has to refer to His humanity, since God can do neither.

The name "Son of Man" is used more than 80 times, and in fact, is used two times more than "Son of God" in the New Testament.

That's interesting. You'd think Jesus would be more concerned with identifying Himself as the son of God, rather than the son of man. After all, few around him had any trouble recognizing him as human and in fact, many thought that was all He was. Why would he use the term Son of Man for Himself more than Son of God?

Well one reason is because of the angels. This was such a cool revelation for me. The Bible teaches we are all a on a stage (see my article What is the Angelic Conflict under Writings on my webpage) where angels watch us and God's dealings with us. They were especially watching during the time that Jesus was on earth, and there are all sorts of references in the Bible to angelic appearances during that time.

And why not? It had to be absolutely mind blowing to them to see the God of the universe, the one they had worshiped in the throne room of heaven come down to earth and literally become a man. A being lower than themselves, a being that could be hurt, that could bleed, that had needs, that was so incredibly fragile. A being whose need for air would tie him to the dust of the earth, even if gravity did not. Mind boggling. It must have been almost impossible for them to believe He'd really done it, thus their need to hear, over and over: he really was God and man, united in one person, forever.

The fact He lowered Himself to do that, makes Him a God worth worshiping. Worth everything. It's mind boggling even for us to think about what God was willing to become and to sacrifice for the sake of people, His creatures, most of whom would want nothing to do with Him... Even so, He reached out and gave it all for us who believe and those who don't. Seen in the full context of the angelic conflict and how the human race figures in resolving it, the Incarnation is a stunning demonstration of God's love and fairness and wisdom. And, above all, His grace.