Why did Jesus call Himself the Son of man?

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By BibleAsk Team


Exploring why Jesus referred to Himself as the “Son of Man” reveals profound insights into His identity, mission, and humanity. This title, deeply rooted in the Old Testament scriptures, carries layers of meaning that Jesus intentionally employed to communicate His divine purpose and role as the Messiah. let us examine the Bible references to understand its significance.

Understanding the Title “Son of Man”

Old Testament Background

The term “Son of Man” finds its origins in the Hebrew Bible, particularly in the book of Daniel.

  • Daniel 7:13-14 (NKJV): “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.”

In this prophetic vision, Daniel sees a figure described as “One like the Son of Man” who receives authority, glory, and an everlasting kingdom from the Ancient of Days, a divine being representing God. This figure is granted dominion over all peoples and nations, signifying His divine role as the ruler and judge of the world.

Jesus’ Identification as the Son of Man

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus frequently refers to Himself as the Son of Man, particularly in the Gospels.

  • Matthew 8:20 (NKJV): “And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.'”
  • Mark 2:10 (NKJV): “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic,”
  • Luke 19:10 (NKJV): “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

These are just a few examples among numerous instances where Jesus refers to Himself with this title.

Significance of the Title

Humanity and Divinity

By identifying Himself as the Son of Man, Jesus emphasizes both His humanity and divinity. While “Son of God” highlights His divine nature, “Son of Man” underscores His full participation in human existence.

  • John 1:14 (NKJV): “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus, as the Son of Man, bridges the gap between heaven and earth, embodying the union of God and humanity.

Fulfillment of Messianic Prophecy

In calling Himself the Son of Man, Jesus identifies with the Messianic figure prophesied in the Old Testament, particularly in Daniel’s vision.

  • Matthew 24:30 (NKJV): “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.”
  • Mark 14:62 (NKJV): “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.'”

Jesus’ use of the title Son of Man aligns with the Messianic expectations of His audience, affirming His identity as the long-awaited Savior who would establish God’s eternal kingdom.

Identification with Humanity

As the Son of Man, Jesus identifies intimately with humanity, sharing in our joys, sorrows, and struggles.

  • Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV): “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

Jesus’ humanity enables Him to empathize with human experiences, making Him a compassionate and understanding advocate for humanity before God. At the same time, Jesus was the Son of God and the essence of God. “who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3, NKJV).

It is a most comforting thought to the repentant sinners to know that their representative before the Father is “One like” themselves, the One who was in all points tempted like as they are and who is touched with the feeling of their infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). For this reason, we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV).

Authority and Judgment

The title “Son of Man” also conveys authority and eschatological significance, particularly in the context of judgment and salvation.

  • Matthew 25:31-32 (NKJV): “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. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”
  • John 5:27 (NKJV): “and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.”

Jesus, as the Son of Man, is vested with authority to judge the world and determine the destinies of individuals based on their response to Him.

Conclusion

In calling Himself the Son of Man, Jesus invokes a title rich in theological significance and Messianic expectation. As the embodiment of divine and human nature, Jesus fulfills the prophetic imagery of the Son of Man in the Old Testament while affirming His unique identity and mission as the Savior of the world. Through His teachings, actions, and ultimate sacrifice, Jesus reveals the profound truth of God’s love and redemption for humanity, inviting all to embrace Him as Lord and Savior.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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