The Son Of Man- Mark 10:45

In this verse, and in the Gospels as a whole, Jesus refers to Himself by the title the “Son of Man”. This is, in fact, the only term which Jesus used to refer to Himself, not using the titles Messiah or Son of God. In fact, in only one other place in the New Testament is Jesus referred to as the Son of Man by someone else, and it is by Stephen in Acts 7:56, in which he sees “heaven open and the Son of Man (identified as Jesus in verse 55) standing at the right hand of God”. It should also be noted that nowhere in the writings of the early church has it been discovered that anyone referred to Jesus as the Son of Man either. In this post, we will examine the reasons why Jesus chose to refer to Himself as the Son of Man, and what He meant in using this title in reference to Himself. The term son of man is used most frequently in the Old Testament as a metaphoric way of referring to the humanness of an individual, of a son of man as a human being. While Jesus certainly was a human being (fully human), and likely used this in reference to the fact of His full humanity, He meant more in its use than merely asserting the fact of His humanity. The Old Testament use of this term to which Jesus primarily refers in its use is found in Daniel 7:13-14. This passage reads as follows: “In my vision at night I looked and there before me was one like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed”. This passage refers to the heavenly Messiah, the divine being (only God comes on the clouds of heaven in the Old Testament) who would come to earth to bring the kingdom of God to earth and rule over all peoples and nations. This is how the Jews of Jesus time (those who He was speaking to when He used this term) would have understood it, as reflected in rabbinic teachings of the time and in the apocryphal book of 1 Enoch, written relatively shortly before the time of Jesus. They would have understood the Son of Man as being the pre-existent divine being who would come as a Davidic king, conquer the enemies of Israel and establish the kingdom of God on earth, with the Israelites as its earthly rulers. They saw the Son of Man as both a heavenly supernatural being who would come to earth and a human Davidic king who would destroy His enemies with the breath of His mouth. So Jesus makes use of this title to capture his dual nature, as being fully God and fully man. So why, then, were others so hesitant to refer to Him by the title by which He referred to Himself? We find the answer here in Mark 10:45, as well as in Mark 10:33-34. Mark 10:33-34 reads as follows: “the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles, who will mock Him and spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him”. Mark 10:45 tells us that Jesus will “give His life as a ransom for many”. Most of the Jews at the time had no room for the idea of a “Son of Man” who would come not as a conquering king to rule over the Gentiles and preside over an everlasting kingdom, but would come and be given over to the Gentiles to be killed by them. This is one reason why so many of the Jewish people were offended by Him. Jesus never referred to Himself as Messiah or Son of God (he just agreed with others who called Him these) because the people of the time expected the Messiah to come as the conquering king portrayed in Daniel, and He was rejected because He tells them here in Mark that He had not come as the conquering king of Daniel 7, but as the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. There are actually two portrayals of Messiah in the Old Testament, the conquering king of Daniel 7 and the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, the one who would “make His life an offering for sin”, who would “pour out His life unto death”, “bear the sin of many”, and “make intercession for the transgressors”. So when Jesus uses the term Son of Man in reference to Himself, He “redefines” it for them, telling them that the Son of Man and the Suffering Servant are one and the same, and the reason He (the divine being come from heaven as a man) had come was not to conquer the military enemies of Israel, but to conquer the deadliest enemy of all, sin. He had come not to rule over the nations, but to die on a cross for their sins. The “Son of Man had come to give His life as a ransom for many”, and it was only those who accepted His “redefinition” of the term Son of Man , it was (and still is) only those who embraced Him as the suffering servant who had already come, and as the conquering king who will come again to rule as in Daniel 7, who would repeat Peter’s confession of Him as the “Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16, the subject of our next post), who will be a part of His “everlasting kingdom, which will never be destroyed”.

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