INTRODUCTION: Dan. 7:13-14.
1. I have been assigned a discussion of Jesus as “the Son of Man,” and the text given to me was Dan. 7:13-14.
1) Some suggest that, if this passage is even talking about Jesus it merely portrays Him as just a human being. For example, Ezekiel is called “son of man” an incredible 93 times in the book that bears his name. And, Ezekiel was only a man. So, some asume that the expression “Son of Man” applied to Jesus means the same as in Ezekiel.
2) Others acknowledge that the text is speaking about Jesus the Christ, but that it focuses on His human side.
3) Actually, both of these assertions are wrong.
2. So, let’s take a quick look at the passage in question before we expand it to a much broader topic.
I. A BRIEF LOOK AT THE CONTEXT OF DAN. 7:13-14.
1. The broader context is several visions that the prophet was given while living in Babylon.
1) These visions, of course, had to do with the four great world powers of ancient history: (1) Babylon; (2) Medo-Persia; (3) Greece; and (4) Rome.
2) In vss. 9-14 of this chapter, Daniel describes the vision he had of God Almighty.
1- In this vision, the “Ancient of Days” (vs. 9) sits in judgment over the beasts that had been ruling the earth.
2- He executes judgment and takes their dominion away from them (vs. 14).
3- The “Son of Man,” above all else is a heavenly figure, since He appeared before the “Ancient of Days” to receive His coronation as King of kings and Lord of lords (see Rev. 14:14, where He is called “Son of Man” and Rev. 17:14 where He is called “Lord of lords and King of kings”).
2. While “Christ” and “Lord” are most frequently used as titles for Jesus by New Testament writers, it is surprising that neither of these was the most frequently used title by the Lord Himself. Of the 82 times it is used in the Gospels, in 81 times this expression is on the lips of the Lord Himself.
3. When Jesus ascended back to the Father following His resurrection, we are told that 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Hebrews 9:24-25 (NASB)
1) It was at this time that Jesus was given the Kingdom which, in its earthly manifestation is the Church.
2) The record of this is found in Acts 2:29-33:
29 “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay . 32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. Acts 2:29-33 (NASB)
4. All of this mirrors that description of the “Son of Man” appearing before the “Ancient of Days” in Dan. 7:13-14.
II. A CLOSER LOOK AT THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS EXPRESSION AS USED BY JESUS HIMSELF.
1. Even if the expression “Son of Man” is a reference to the human side of the Christ, it is not a denial of His deity.
1) By becoming a man, Jesus did not cease being God.
2) The incarnation of Christ did not involve the subtraction of deity, but rather, he addition of humanity.
3) Jesus had two natures (divine and human) joined together in one Person. (John 1:1, 14, 18). Jesus the Christ is the God-Man! (see also Phil. 2:5ff.).
2. With all of this in mind, let’s look at little more closely at the uses of this expression in the New Testament.
1) First, it is used fairly early in Jesus’ earthly ministry, when Jesus healed a paralytic who was brought to Him by four friends–READ Mark 2:1-12.
1- Notice that there is an explicit referenc to “their faith” (vs. 5) which is not necessarily the faith of the paralyzed man, but instead, the faith of his four friends who actually made a hole in a stranger’s roof in order to lower the man into the room where Jesus was teaching.
2- Notice further that when Jesus said, Son, your sins are forgiven, the scribes immediately and correctly said, who can forgive sins but God alone? (vss. 5, 7)
3- Jesus knew precisely what they were thinking, and so, He said, which is easier to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and go home.”
(1) Of course, it is much easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” since no one can see this happening, and they are truthfully forgiven only in the Mind of God.
(2) It is much harder to say, Get up, take up your pallet and go home, because then something would have to be done in public view where there would be no question as to whether He had healed the man or not.
(3) But then, Jesus made the connection to His deity when He said:
10 “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said* to the paralytic, 11 “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” Mark 2:10-11 (NASB)
OBSERVATION: If the “Son of Man” has authority on earth to forgive sins, and if only God can forgive sins, then the “Son of Man” is God!
2) Second, Jesus used this expression to refer to Himself on the occasion of the Great Confession–READ Matt. 16:13-20.
1- Please note with me that Jesus asked the disciples who men thought the “Son of Man” happened to be.
2- I would have you to understand that the apostles correctly identified Him as their Messiah–the Son of God.
3- So, they have made the connection between the “Son of Man” and the “Son of God.”
4- On the foundation of this understanding, Jesus promised to establish His church!
OBSERVATION: The expressions “Son of Man” and “Son of God” are complimentary descriptions of the Christ.
3) Third, our Lord taught the disciples a lesson in true greatness and being a servant.–READ Matt. 20:20-28.
1- This was the third such argument the apostles had in the days shortly before His crucifixion. Their minds were focused on themselves, not on the Lord.
2- Jesus brought them back to what is meant by true greatness. It is to possess the heart and mind of a servant.
3- Once again He informs them of His impending death.
OBSERVATION: It is only through the heart of a servant that true greatness is achieved. It is not by means of human authority over others.
4) Fourth, Jesus informed the Sanhedrin that He would be seated at the right hand of Power (beside the Father’s throne) in the heavens–READ Matt. 26:59-66.
1- Please observe that the High Priest put Jesus under oath to tell them whether or not He was the “Son of God.”
2- Notice also that He answered them, not by using the term “Son of God,” but instead, the expression, “Son of Man.”
3- Finally, please also notice how they called that “blasphemy” which is a clear recognition of the fact that “Son of Man” was understood as the same as the “Son of God.” It was a Messianic term, and was so recognized by the Jews.
OBSERVATION: Jesus the Christ is the God-Man, and for that reason, the Jews had Him put to death.
5) Fifth, notice how the first Christian to die a martyr’s death gives evidence of the “Son of Man” before the throne of the “Ancient of Days.”
56 and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:56 (NASB)
OBSERVATION: Where is Jesus but at the right hand of God, exercising His authority as King of kings and Lord of lords.
6) Sixth, a prophecy of David reinforces the fact that none are superior to Christ–READ Heb. 2:5-8.
OBSERVATION: The “Son of Man” who is Christ, is superior to the angels, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
III. A FINAL WORD: JESUS ON THE TUESDAY BEFORE HIS CRUCIFIXION– READ Matt. 22:41-46.
1. This particular Tuesday is sometimes called the “Day of Controversy,” for it features several Jewish groups and individuals engaged in debate with Jesus.
2. They were looking for a legitimate excuse to have Him sentenced to death.
3. After they all had tried their best and failed, Jesus went on offense.
1) He asked about the “Son of Man” in a slightly different way. He said, the Christ, whose son is He?
2) Their answer: The son of David. To their minds, the Messiah was to be only a man.
3) Jesus then said (and, I’m paraphrasing): How then does David by inspiration call Him Lord? And, He cited the very passage in question from the Psalms.
4) If He were ONLY a man, then David would have been both His forefather and His superior.
1- But, the clear implication of David’s inspired message is that He was NOT JUST a man!
2- He was also David’s Lord–David’s superior. Thus, He was/is both God and Man–the God-Man.
4. No wonder they quit asking Him questions from that point forward.
ILLUSTRATION: Muhammad Ali, got on a plane one day and he was sitting in first class and a flight attendant came to him and asked him to buckle his seat belt as they were nearing takeoff. The flight attendant came back; Muhammad Ali had not buckled his seat belt. She said, “I’m sorry, Mr. Ali, but you are going to have to buckle your seat belt.” She came back again, right before the plane was getting ready to taxi down the runway; Ali had not buckled his seat belt. She said, “Mr. Ali, we can’t move until you buckle your seat belt.” Mr. Ali replied, “I don’t need to buckle my seat belt.”
“What do you mean you don’t need to buckle your seat belt? Everybody has to buckle their seat belt.”
“Well, Superman don’t need no seat belt.”
The flight attendant now was ticked off. She looked squarely at him and said, “Superman don’t need no airplane, either.”
We have to know our limitations. It is simply NOT about us. It’s about Jesus the Christ!
1. He is, and shall ever be, the “Son of Man.”
2. And, while Muhammad Ali very clearly focused most all (if not all) of his attentio on himself, our focus should be directed to the “Son of Man” who makes us fit to dwell in the Father’s presence (see Heb. 12:ff.).