The Wonder of His NameThe Son of Man
Leslie: Do you look like your Father? When you know Jesus, you start to look like Him more every day.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: There’s supposed to be a family resemblance between us and our heavenly Father, and it’s Christ who is making that happen in us.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, for Tuesday, March 11.
Nancy recorded today’s program while on the Revive Tour in Fort Worth. To see part of this message on video, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Here’s Nancy.
Nancy: We’re looking during these days at “The Wonder of His Name: 32 Life-Changing Names of Jesus." I’m so excited about this study. I hope you’re following along with us. If you miss a day, you can go back to ReviveOurHearts.com. You can hear the audio; you can read the transcript. I hope you’re taking advantage of this opportunity during this Lenten season leading up to Easter to meditate more deeply on who Jesus is and the wonder of His name—what His names mean to us and for us and how they really can change our lives.
Now, my favorite name for Jesus is whichever one I’m studying and teaching at the moment. I’m growing to love all of them as I’m doing this study. But have you ever considered what was Jesus’ favorite title for Himself? Do you have any guess as to what that might be? Well, let me tell you, because the Scripture gives us a good idea. I think Jesus’ favorite title for Himself, as least during His earthly ministry, was the one we want to talk about today, which is the Son of Man—the Son of Man.
You see this title eighty-seven times in the New Testament and eighty-four of those are in the four gospels, and thirty-two of those are in the Gospel of Matthew alone. Jesus occasionally referred to Himself as the Son of God, but much more often He called Himself the Son of Man, and that title tells us so much about Jesus.
It tells us first about His humanity—the Son of Man. He was made in the likeness of men. That means that He had a physical body. He had human needs and characteristics. He knew what it was to be hungry, to be thirsty, to be physically weary, to need a nap. He knew what it was to be tempted, to weep, to grieve. All these aspects of humanness, Jesus shared with us.
We could never have been redeemed if Jesus had not become a man. God had to become flesh, take on our humanity and our physical limitations. Jesus did that when He came to earth as the incarnate Son of God and became the Son of Man. And as a man, He obeyed God. He served God. He resisted temptation. If you want to think about this more, go to Hebrews chapter 2, beginning in verse 14, and you see why it was so important that Jesus take on our humanity in order to redeem us.
So the name speaks to us of His humanity, but it also speaks to us of His humility. I love quoting my friend, Charles Spurgeon, and he says something very beautiful about this. He said:
If He had chosen, Jesus might always have spoken of Himself as the Son of God, the Everlasting Father, the Wonderful, the Counselor, the Prince of Peace; but behold the lowliness of Jesus! He prefers to call Himself the Son of Man. Let us learn a lesson of humility from our Savior; let us never court great titles or proud degrees.
How different we are from Jesus. Whatever is the best, most, biggest title we have, that’s the one we want people to know about—right?—our accomplishments, what we’ve done, where we’ve been, who we know. But we see the humility of Jesus in calling Himself over and over again the Son of Man.
We read about that humility in Matthew chapter 8, where Jesus says,
Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head (v. 20).
That’s a reference I think to the fact that Jesus gave up the glory and the privileges of His eternal heavenly home to come down to this earth. It’s a picture of how He humbled Himself to become human.
The Son of Man speaks to us of Jesus’ reason for coming to this earth. We read in Luke chapter 19, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (v. 10). And in Mark 10, verse 45, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The Son of Man speaks to us of why Jesus came—to seek, to save, to serve, to give His life as a substitute for sinful man.
The Son of Man title speaks of the sufferings and the passion of Jesus. As you read through the gospels, notice how many times the term “Son of Man” is associated with Jesus’ sufferings, which we’ll be commemorating over these next days and weeks.
We read, for example, in Luke 9, verse 22,
The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day raised.
The Son of Man points to His sufferings, to His humiliation, and to His passion. And so this title, the Son of Man, speaks of Jesus’ humanity. It speaks of His humility, and His humiliation, and His sufferings, but it also speaks of His deity, His authority, and His exaltation.
It speaks of His deity and His pre-existence, the fact that He always was God. John 3 tells us, “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man” (v. 13). Jesus said this about Himself. He was here on earth, He would ascend back to heaven, but He makes it clear that He started out in heaven, that He descended, that He always was in heaven. He was pre-existent as God. He descended from heaven as the Son of Man. It speaks of His deity.
We read about His authority when He says, “The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath" (Matt. 12:8). And "the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Matt. 9:6).
And then the most frequent use of the “Son of Man” in the New Testament is to speak of His future exaltation and glory. Now, you remember that the first time Jesus came to earth He came in humility, as the Suffering Servant. But at His Second Coming, when He returns to earth, He will come in power and in glory—this time, not to save, but to judge the wicked and to reign forever. And you see this theme in the gospels—Matthew 16, verse 27:
The Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.
Luke 22, verse 69,
From now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.
His exaltation. Now, these verses and others like them that speak of the future exaltation of the Son of Man tie back to a very important Old Testament reference to the Son of Man. It’s found in the book of Daniel chapter 7. Let me just give you the context before I read verses 13 and 14 from Daniel 7.
The context in the beginning of Daniel 7 is the rise of four great beasts, representing world powers. And then we see in verse 7 that the fourth of those beasts, the fourth of those world powers is “terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong.”
And then, in that context, the Ancient of Days, God the Father Himself, takes His seat on heaven’s throne. Fire pours out from the throne. Myriads of angels surround Him. And He holds court. He executes judgment. And in that context, this terrifying fourth beast is destroyed. He’s burned with fire. That’s all background.
And then we come to this great messianic prophecy in Daniel chapter 7, verses 13 and 14. Daniel says,
I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a Son of Man [reference to the Messiah, the Christ] and he came to the Ancient of Days who was seated on his throne, and was presented before him.
And to him [to this Son of Man, this anointed Messiah, 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 one that shall not be destroyed.
Now, keep in mind all those other earthly kingdoms have just been destroyed, but this is a kingdom brought about by the Son of Man that will never be destroyed.
Now, fast forward to Matthew chapter 26, during the trial of Jesus when Jesus is standing before Caiaphas the high priest. Jesus tells Caiaphas, in effect, that the day is coming when the tables will be turned, and Jesus will be trying Caiaphas and every other human being. He will return to execute final judgment. The Jews saw this as blasphemy.
Matthew chapter 26, verse 63,
The high priest said to him, "I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus said to him, "You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven."
Did you hear that phrase just a few moments ago in Daniel chapter 7? “I saw and behold with clouds of heaven there came one like the Son of Man”? The high priest, the council, the Sanhedrin knew that Jesus was referring to Daniel chapter 7, that He was claiming to be the powerful ruler spoken of in Daniel’s vision.
And so we read on in Matthew chapter 26 where the high priest and the counsel said, “He has uttered blasphemy. He deserves death.” Because they knew that He was claiming to be the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God.
We see Him as the Son of Man in John’s vision in Revelation 1 where John saw “one in the midst of the lamp stands like a Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around His chest” (v. 13). The exaltation, the glory of the Son of Man.
And so we see that the Son of Man came from heaven to earth to serve, to seek, to save those who were lost. The Son of Man laid down His life. He was raised from the dead. He ascended to heaven. He is interceding for us today. And one day He will return to earth to judge the earth and to take dominion, to establish His eternal kingdom. He will reign forever and ever. He is the Son of God and the Son of Man.
So as we’ve been pondering today and in the last session what it means that He is the Son of God and the Son of Man, let me just encourage you to consider some takeaways for our lives.
First, and I just think this is so astounding. It’s not a new thought, but maybe you haven’t thought about it recently: The Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sons of men might become sons of God. Isn’t that incredible?
Galatians 4 says it this way,
When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" (vv. 4–6).
We could never call God our Father until the Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sons of men could become children of God. So Galatians 4 says, “You are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (v. 7).
Not everybody is a child of God. We must receive Him for who He is. We must place our faith in the Son of God who became the Son of Man. And not everyone does that. Most refuse to believe in the Son of God who became the Son of Man. That’s what we read about in John chapter 1,
He came to his own [the ones He had created] and his own people [not even the Jewish nation, His own people] did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave [He gave, He gave] the right to become children of God (vv. 11–12).
In his first epistle, 1 John chapter 3, he says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God" (v. 1). And so we are.
Have you just pondered that recently? Let that soak into your soul. Let it amaze you in a fresh way. But wait . . . there’s more! God’s end goal for us is for us to share His eternal glory.
Hebrews chapter 2 tells us,
It was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies [that’s Jesus] and those who are being sanctified [that’s us] all have one source (vv. 10–11).
What is that source? God the Father. He is the unique, eternal Son of God. We are sons of God by adoption. We have one Father. How amazing is that?
And there’s more. Wait! "That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, 'I will tell of your name [an Old Testament psalm—the prophecy of the Messiah] to my brothers'" (v. 11).
Amazing! Jesus is the eternal, unique Son of God, and through faith in His Name, we too can become sons, children of God. We can be brought into an eternal relationship with God as our Father as much as He is the Father of Jesus and Christ as our dear, precious, eternal Brother. Talk about a new blood line, a new family line; you’ve got it in Jesus because He is the Son of God who became the Son of Man.
But wait . . . there’s more! As children of God—we just read this in Hebrews chapter 2, we are being sanctified. Toward what end? So that we can be and look like Christ our Brother. There’s supposed to be a family resemblance between us and our heavenly Father, and it’s Christ who is making that happen in us.
And what does that mean? It means that our lives will be marked by similar characteristics that were true of Jesus, the Son of Man—marked by humility, a heart to serve, a willingness to suffer on behalf of others, if need be, as He suffered for us. Wow! Wow! Wow! The Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sons of men might become sons of God, brothers of Jesus, transformed, sanctified, to become like Him.
And then I want to close with this thought, and please, please, if you’ve maybe just been kind of tuned out, listening as background while you’re doing something else, let me ask you to stop what you’re doing and listen, listen. Listen with your ears. Listen with your heart because I want this truth to grip you: Your eternal destiny will be determined by your response to the Son.
This is not just a theological set of teachings. This is not just something you read about in a book, “Yeah, that’s nice. Yeah, I know, Jesus was the Son of God, Son of Man, we sing about that. Yeah, yeah, yeah, ya, ya, ya, whatever.”
No, not “whatever.” The eternal destiny of your body, soul and spirit will be determined by how you respond to the Son.
I want to point you in these last few moments to an Old Testament psalm, it’s a Messianic psalm, and let me begin by reading the last verse of Psalm chapter 2, verse 12: "Kiss the Son" Now, that sounds a little strange, but I’ll explain what it means in just a moment.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Now this Son in verse 12 is identified earlier in the psalm as the Son of God. You see that in verse 7 of Psalm 2. And He’s identified as the King, the Messiah that God has set up to reign over the nations of the world—the Son, the King—same person in this Messianic psalm—speaking prophetically of Jesus.
So at the close of this psalm, He says, “Kiss the Son.” If you’re using the New American Standard version, it says, “Do homage to the Son.” I think that does a good job of explaining the meaning of “kiss the Son.”
You’ve seen or read, I am sure, that in the ancient orient, the way one showed respect for someone of the superior rank might be to kiss them. It’s a way of expressing homage or allegiance to a king. You would kiss his hand, or his feet, or his robe. That’s still done in some cultures.
So to “kiss the Son” is a token, a symbol of subjection. It means you give Him your sincere, heartfelt homage, your wholehearted allegiance, your respect, your honor, your submission. That’s what it means to “kiss the Son.”
But it’s more than just your submission. To “kiss the Son” is also a token of friendship. It means to draw near to the Son, to be reconciled to Him, to give Him your heart’s adoration and worship and love and affection. It means to embrace Him as Savior, as your King, as the Son of God, and the Son of Man.
We said earlier that Jesus came to earth the first time as the humble Son of Man. He came to seek and to save the lost, to bring mercy and salvation, to bring a call to repent and be saved. But when Jesus comes the second time—and He will—there will be no more opportunity for mercy, no more opportunity for salvation. This time He will come to as God’s instrument of judgment, the righteous, fiery wrath of a holy God against the sin of the human race will be executed by a wrathful, vengeful, judging Son of God, Son of Man.
And every person and every nation that refused to “kiss the Son,” refused to bow before Him in honor and submission and love, every person and every nation who refused to “kiss the Son” will be consumed by the wrath of God the Father and God the Son. They will perish eternally.
So if you have never bowed your heart before Jesus and kissed the Son, that should cause great dread and terror to you as you think of the return of Christ. So surrender to Him today. “Kiss the Son,” and don’t presume that you can do it another time. You may not have more time. Acknowledge that you deserve the wrath of God for your sins, and that He is your only hope of forgiveness of sins, the only way to avoid the judgment and the wrath of God. Repent of your sins, receive His salvation, and escape from the wrath to come.
“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.” BUT—I love this last phrase of Psalm 2: “Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (v. 12).
Take refuge in Him. Put your trust in Him. As you do, you can know that you are forgiven, that you will be spared the wrath of God, and you can look forward to His return with great anticipation and great joy. You can have the expectation of being a part of His new creation, of being forever with the Lord in His holy presence.
And don’t just “kiss the Son” yourself, but do what you can to tell others that they need to “kiss the Son,” that they can escape the wrath of God through believing in His Son.
Bow with me in prayer if you would, and I would just invite you in this moment, if you’ve never given your homage, your submission, your love to Jesus, would you do that right now? “Kiss the Son.” Put your trust in Him. Repent of your sin. Take refuge in Him.
Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be Thine.
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been unpacking an important name of Jesus—the name, “Son of Man.” She’s been inviting you to submit your life to Him. If you’ve never done that and are ready, we’d like to send you some free information about what it means to come to faith in Christ, to be right with God and know you’ve been forgiven.
Call us at 1–800–569–5959, and ask for the free resource about knowing God personally for the first time.
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When you make a gift of any amount, we’ll show our gratitude by sending you Nancy’s new book, The Wonder of His Name. She’s in the middle of teaching through thirty-two names of Jesus. Today we heard “The Son of Man.”
This book includes a devotional for each of those names. You’ll know Jesus more deeply as you meditate on these thirty-two aspects of who He is.
Ask for the book, The Wonder of His Name when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.
Jesus received one of His names 700 years before He was born while the nation of Israel was being threatened by enemy armies. Do you know what that name is? Nancy will tell you about it tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.
Dawn Wilson, Lindsay Swartz, and Darla Wilkinson provided helpful research assistance for this series.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.
Topics: The Son