Study 5 WHO IS THIS SON OF MAN?
GREAT QUESTIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Reference: John 12:34)
In the Bible many names and titles are given to Jesus. Job speaks of Him in Job 19:25; the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 9:6; the prophet Haggai in Haggai 2:7; John the Baptist describes Him in John 1:29; and see how the Apostle John speaks of Him in Revelation 5:5. These names are highly significant, revealing the many-sided aspects of His person and work on our behalf. But what was the Lord’s favourite name for Himself? It was the “Son of Man”, a title which occurs about 80 times in the Gospels, revealing Him as the perfect Man, thus emphasising His perfect humanity. But it also reveals Him as very God – this Son of Man did (and does) things that only God could and can do. Jesus Christ is the God-man – not the man who became God, but God who, in the mystery and miracle of the incarnation, became man. Who is this Son of Man?
1. Turn to Matthew 16:13-18 – He is the Son of God, the Lord of the Church.
These verses tell us who Jesus Christ is. Peter made this confession, not out of his own thinking or out of his own heart, but as this great truth was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the Son of Man, is the Son of the living God. Jesus acknowledged that fact and said that it was to be upon Himself that His Church was to be founded; that the powers of hell would be arraigned against the Church but they would not prevail against it – look up 1 Corinthians 3:11. There is great encouragement here for us: we look around and see the Church today – impotent, full of failure – and wonder what will happen. Let us rejoice in the fact that the Son of Man, the eternal Son of God, is the builder of the Church, Lord of the Church, and has guaranteed the security of the Church.
2. Turn to Mark 10:45 – He is the One who came to earth to set us free.
The word ‘ransom’ gives the idea of redemption, and Jesus’ primary purpose in coming from heaven to earth was to redeem us (Galatians 4:5) – to set us free. He did not come primarily to reform society, to die as a martyr, to give a code for living, to be a hero and a pattern for His people, but He came to die, to shed His blood for our redemption, to set us free (1 Peter 1:18-19) – from sin (Matthew 1:21), from self (Romans 6:14), from Satan (1 John 3:8) – so here is a question: Has He set you free? Are you proving the liberating power of the Son of Man, setting you free from sin, self and Satan? – look up John 8:36.
3. Turn to Luke 19:10 – He is the seeking Saviour.
We see what was Jesus’ objective in coming 2000 years ago, and we also see what His divine activity is today – the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God, is seeking to save the lost. See Luke 15:3-24 for an illustration of this; it is the Lord who is seeking man, not man who is seeking the Lord. He always takes the initiative. It is true that in Luke 19:1-9 Zacchaeus sought Jesus (verse 3), but presumably this was the seeking of curiosity. Verses 5-6 show us it was the Lord who sought him. What a wonderful activity this is!
4. Turn to Mark 2:10 – He is the One who is qualified to forgive sins.
Four men brought their friend to Christ and could not get into the house because of the crowd, so let him down through the roof. Jesus’ first words to the man were, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (verse 5). Immediately the scribes accused Jesus of blasphemy (verse 7), since God only could forgive sins. Of course they were right, but the trouble was that they did not recognise Jesus as the Son of God; so to prove to them that He had the power to forgive the man’s sins He performed a miracle in his body. Jesus alone has the authority to forgive sins because He alone has died to make propitiation for them (1 John 2:2); and compare Acts 13:38-39 with 1 John 1:9.
5. Turn to Acts 7:54-56 – He is the exalted and glorified Lord.
In this chapter we read of Stephen’s defence before the authorities, and the result of all that he said (verse 54) – but what did he do? We read that “he looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (verses 55-56). Who is this Son of Man? – turn to Philippians 2:5-11 and compare Hebrews 1:1-3; 2:9 – He is the Lord of Glory, exalted and seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Are you identified with Him? If so, surely you are very glad that you are a Christian! How great He is!
6. Turn to Matthew 24:27,30,37,44 He is the One who will soon return in power and glory.
The whole burden of Matthew 24 is the Second Coming of Jesus, and here He is referred to as the Son of Man. This old world, where He was rejected and crucified, has not seen the end of Him. He will return soon in glory and power: Are we ready for His return? – see the warning in verse 44.
7. Turn to John 5:25-27 – He is the Judge of all mankind.
These are solemn verses and should be read in conjunction with Acts 17:31 and Hebrews 9:27. There are two judgments that concern us:-
- (1) The Judgment of the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11,12,15). Every unsaved person will be present. No Christian will be there, for the whole question of the Christian’s judgment has been settled by the Lord Jesus once and for all (John 5:24).
- (2) The Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Every Christian will be present there, to be rewarded or to suffer loss, according to the life he has lived on the earth.
Who is this Son of Man? He is Christ, the Son of the living God, the Lord of the Church; He came from heaven to set us free, the only One qualified to forgive our sin. He is the exalted and glorified Lord; He is the One who is shortly coming again, and to whom God has given all authority to be the Judge of all mankind.