WHY DOES JESUS FREQUENTLY REFER TO HIMSELF IN THE GOSPELS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT AS "THE SON OF MAN"? - compiled
by S.N.Strutt 09/12/18
He called Himself the Son of Man because He was HUMAN, He was born of a woman just like the rest of us. He had the same kind of body that
we have, He had the same feelings that we have, the same human limitations we have, He felt the same kind of weariness and pain.
The Creator of all things
willingly stripped Himself of His unlimited power and became a tiny helpless infant. The Source of all wisdom and knowledge had to study and learn to read and write. He left His throne in Heaven where innumerable angels worshipped Him, where all the
forces of the Universe were at His command, and He took the place of a servant--scoffed at, ridiculed, persecuted and ultimately killed by the very ones He came to save.
The Bible tells
us that Jesus is "a High Priest Who is touched with the feeling of our weaknesses, for He was in all points tempted the same way WE are, yet without sin."- Hebrews 4:15.
Imagine!The Son of God literally became a citizen of this World, a member of humanity, a man of flesh, in order to reach us with His Love, prove to us His compassion and concern, and help us to understand
His Truth in simple childlike terms that we could grasp.
Isaiah 53:3 tells us, "He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."
He wept over the grief of His friends, over the suffering of humanity, and even over Jerusalem, a city that rejected its Saviour and was therefore doomed to destruction.
Jesus was so
merciful, so kind and kind-hearted. There were times when He was wearied, worn and virtually exhausted from constantly ministering to the crowds that thronged Him.
On one occasion
He tried to retire from the busy scene for a little rest and recuperation, but the Bible tells us that when He saw the multitudes who needed His help, He had COMPASSION upon them. He felt so SORRY for them that despite the weariness and pain He felt, He went
out and healed ALL that came to Him, and taught them all the wonderful Words of God's Kingdom of Love. - Matthew 9:36; Mark 6:31-34.
were also times when God's ANGER blazed through Jesus, the Living Word, against pretense and hypocrisy. He told the self-righteous leaders of the ruling religious hierarchy of His day, "If I had not
come and spoken unto you, you would not be guilty of sin, but now I have come and EXPOSED you, so you have no covering for your sin!"-John 15:22.
Actually, most of the
time He had very little to do with the lofty, rich-robed, powerful and wealthy religious leaders, the Scribes and the Pharisees.--Except when they insisted on annoying Him and raising critical questions, doubts and accusations among those He was teaching.
Then He unleashed scathing rebukes against them, publicly exposing them as the "blind leaders of the blind" that they were "whitewashed
SEPULCHRES, tombs, which, although they appeared beautiful, clean and holy OUTWARDLY, were full of rottenness, corruption and stinking dead men's bones WITHIN!"-Matthew 23:27,28.
These religious leaders considered themselves to be the most "righteous and holy" people in town, but Jesus exposed them for the hypocrites, liars, robbers and cheaters of the poor that they were, which of course infuriated them.
But most of the time Jesus avoided the self-satisfied religionists, and spent His time helping and loving the poor, the common man, speaking to them, healing them, feeding them and most importantly, giving
them the spiritual answers, Love, forgiveness and Truth that they longed for.
The Bible says that He mingled with and preached
to the fishermen, drunks, prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners, and "the COMMON people heard Him GLADLY."-Mark 12:37.
But when He went into the temple and gave His
message to the RELIGIOUS leaders, they mobbed Him, threw Him out and finally crucified Him!
SON OF GOD
He not only CLAIMED to be the Son of God, God manifest in human flesh, but He CONVINCED a great portion of the World that He in fact IS God's Son.
Jesus said, "I and my Father are ONE."-John 10:30. Before being born to Mary
and living in a fleshly human body, He and His Heavenly Father were together in very close personal Heavenly fellowship, something He had to forsake while He was down here on Earth.
The Bible tells us, "In the BEGINNING was the WORD (Jesus) and the Word was WITH God and the Word WAS God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made...And the Word (Jesus) was made FLESH and lived AMONG us, and we beheld
His glory, the glory as of the one and only Son of the Father."-John 1:1,2,14.
Just before He was arrested and crucified, knowing that He would soon be reunited with His Heavenly
Father, Jesus prayed: "And now, Father, glorify Me along with Yourself and restore Me to such majesty and honour in Your presence as I had with You BEFORE THE WORLD WAS MADE...for You loved Me BEFORE the foundation
of the World."-John 17:5,24.
THE MESSIAH - THE SAVIOUR
If any adjective were to describe Jesus, it would be "UNIQUE"!-His MESSAGE was unique. The CLAIMS He made regarding Himself were unique. His MIRACLES were unique. And the INFLUENCE He has had on the World is unsurpassed
by any other.
One very outstanding and undeniably unique aspect of Jesus' life is that literally hundreds of detailed PREDICTIONS and PROPHECIES were made by ancient prophets and seers, many centuries
before He was born. Specific details regarding His birth, life and death, that no mere mortal man could possibly have fulfilled!
In the first books of the Bible, known as the "Old Testament," over 300 such predictions about the "Messiah" or "Saviour" can be found. The discovery of hundreds of ancient Old
Testament manuscripts by archaeologists during this century has proven without a doubt that these prophecies were indeed written CENTURIES BEFORE this man called Jesus was born.
How could anyone
manipulate their bitter enemies to pay a specific price for their betrayal, mock and revile them as they are dying, much less cause
a band of soldiers to gamble for their clothing and pierce their side AFTER they've died, & cause a rich man to bury their body in his own personal tomb? Yet Jesus of
Nazareth fulfilled not only these, but OVER 300 MORE specific predictions regarding His birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection!-Truly He was and is "UNIQUE" in every sense of the word!
the first books of the Bible, known as the "Old Testament," over 300 such predictions about the "Messiah" or "Saviour" can be found. The discovery of hundreds of ancient Old Testament manuscripts by archaeologists during this century has proven without a doubt
that these prophecies were indeed written CENTURIES BEFORE this man called Jesus was born.
Here is a small sampling of the kind of specific predictions we're talking about: In 750 B.C., the prophet Isaiah made the astounding prediction that:
"THE LORD HIMSELF SHALL GIVE YOU A SIGN; BEHOLD, A VIRGIN SHALL CONCEIVE AND BEAR A SON, AND SHALL CALL HIS
NAME EMMANUEL."--ISAIAH 7:14.
7-1/2 centuries later, a young virgin girl in Israel named Mary was visited by the Arch-angel Gabriel, who announced to her that
she would bear a Son Who would be called Emmanuel, which means "God with us." The books of the Bible which were written after Jesus came to Earth, the "New Testament," tell us that, "Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be, seeing I have not LAIN with any
man?' And the angel answered, 'The Spirit of GOD shall come upon you, and the power of the ALMIGHTY shall overshadow you! Therefore that Holy One which shall be born of you shall be called the SON OF GOD!'"-Luke
So even the very BEGINNING of His life on Earth-His conception and birth-were not only unique, but MIRACULOUS, in that the simple and humble young girl who became
His mother had never slept with a man!
In fact, the Bible tells us that the news of her pregnancy was so shocking to the young man to whom she was engaged to be married, Joseph,
that when he learned about it he promptly decided to break off the engagement and call off the wedding!-
Until the angel of the Lord appeared to him also, and instructed him to stay with her and
rear and protect the very special child that she was carrying.
A full 800 YEARS before Jesus was born, the prophet Micah foretold the exact village where the Messiah would be born:
"YOU, BETHLEHEM, THOUGH YOU ARE SMALL AMONG THE CLANS OF JUDAH, YET OUT OF YOU SHALL HE COME FORTH UNTO ME WHO IS TO BE RULER OVER ISRAEL; WHOSE GOINGS FORTH HAVE BEEN OF OLD, FROM DAYS OF ETERNITY."-MICAH 5:2
Although His earthly parents lived in the town of Nazareth, 100 miles to the north of Bethlehem, a decree from Rome demanded that all families return to their ancestral
homes to register for a worldwide census. The decree came just as Mary's child was due to be born.-Thus God used a Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, to help bring about the fulfillment of Micah's prophecy.
and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem, and upon their arrival, Mary went into labour, and as the Gospels inform us, "Jesus was born in BETHLEHEM of Judea" (Matthew 2:1), just as the prophet Micah predicted.
Micah's prophecy also tells us that the Messiah "Has been of old, from days of ETERNITY." Jesus Himself said, "Before ABRAHAM was (around 2000 B.C.), I AM."-John 8:58.
Abraham was the forefather of the Jews and Arabs, who lived about 2,000 YEARS before Jesus was born to Mary. So Jesus was referring here to His pre-existence with God before His life on Earth in the form of a man.
Though born in Bethlehem, Jesus grew up in Nazareth. In His first recorded public address there, He openly declared that He indeed WAS the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah.
While attending the local house of worship, He stood up before the crowd and read a prophecy from the book of the prophet Isaiah. In the passage, Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would be anointed with
the Spirit of God to "preach Good News to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to give freedom to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind and to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."-Isaiah 61:1,2. The New Testament tells us that after He read this prophecy aloud to the congregation, Jesus told them, "TODAY is this Scripture FULFILLED in your ears!"-Luke 4:18-21.
Another outstanding prophecy regarding the Messiah was made by Israel's King David around the year
1000 B.C., or over 10 CENTURIES before Jesus was born. In his prophecy, David gave details of a cruel and agonising death which he himself never suffered:
"I am poured out like water, and all my
bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, it has melted within me...Like a pack of dogs, they have surrounded me; a company of evil doers has encircled me. They have pierced my hands and my feet. They divide my clothing among them and cast lots for my
King David died a peaceful, natural death, so we know he was not talking about himself in this passage of Scripture. But being a prophet,
he predicted with unerring accuracy the circumstances surrounding the cruel death on the cross of the Messiah, the CHRIST that was to come. Let's examine some of the details outlined in the above prophecy:
am poured out like water...my heart is melted within me." Jesus not only poured out His life for us spiritually, but the New Testament tells us that shortly after He died, while He was still hanging on the cross, "one of the
soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately BLOOD AND WATER FLOWED OUT."--John 19:34. Modern medical authorities have affirmed that in the case of heart rupture--when a human heart literally bursts open under extreme stress and trauma-the blood
collects in the pericardium, the membranous sac that encloses the heart and the roots of the main blood vessels. This blood then separates into a sort of bloody clot and a watery serum, thus when the soldier pierced His side, His life was LITERALLY, "poured
forth like WATER." (Unwittingly, this Roman soldier fulfilled another prophecy, "They will look upon Me whom they have PIERCED," a prophecy given by the Prophet Zechariah around 500 B.C.-Zechariah 12:10.)
"All my bones are out of joint."-This is one of the horrors of death by crucifixion; the weight of the victim's body literally pulls his arms out of their sockets.
a pack of dogs...a company of evil doers has encircled me." The New Testament tells us that Jesus' wicked and vengeful religious enemies, the Scribes and the Pharisees, gathered around Him as He was nailed on the cross, mocking and reviling
"They have pierced my hands and my feet." This is probably the most astounding prediction within this prophecy. Crucifixion
was not practiced by the Jews of David's time.
Their religious laws demanded that criminals be executed by STONING. But God showed His Prophet, David, how the Messiah would die 10 CENTURIES LATER,
executed at the hands of an empire that did not even exist in David's day, ROME, whose principal means of executing criminals was CRUCIFIXION!
"They divide my clothing among them and cast lots for
my garment." In the Gospels of the New Testament we find the almost incredible fulfillment of this prophecy: "When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took His clothes, and DIVIDED them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment (a long
robe-like tunic) remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. So they said one to another, 'Let us not tear it, but let us CAST LOTS to decide whose it shall be.'"-John 19:23,24.
In 487 B.C., the Prophet Zechariah predicted: "And I said unto them, if you think well, give me my PRICE; and if not, keep it. So they paid me 30 PIECES OF SILVER."-Zechariah 11:12.
On the night that Jesus was arrested by His enemies, the New Testament tells us that, "One of the twelve Apostles, Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said to them, 'What will you give me if I deliver Him
to you?', and they counted out for him 30 PIECES OF SILVER."-Matthew 26:14,15.
Imagine!-Over five hundred years before the event took place, God's Prophet, Zechariah,
predicted the EXACT "PRICE" that Jesus' enemies would pay to His traitorous disciple, Judas! In the next verse of Zechariah's prophecy, he goes into even more astounding details:
"And the Lord said,
'Cast it unto the POTTER--the handsome price at which they priced Me!' So the 30 pieces of silver were taken and CAST TO THE POTTER IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD."-Zechariah 11:13.
The New Testament tells us that, "When Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented, and RETURNED the 30 PIECES OF SILVER to the chief priests of the Jews, and he cast down the pieces of silver in the TEMPLE. Then the chief priests picked
up the silver pieces and said, 'It is against our law to put it into our treasury because it is blood-money.' So they used the money to buy a POTTER'S FIELD, to bury foreigners in."-Matthew 27:3-6.
The 30 pieces of silver were literally "CAST to the POTTER in the HOUSE of the LORD"!--Just as Zechariah predicted 500 years earlier!
In 712 B.C., the prophet
Isaiah predicted that the Son of God would "be given a GRAVE WITH THE WICKED, and with the RICH in His DEATH."-Isaiah 53:9.
Jesus' bitter religious enemies condemned
Him as a CRIMINAL, as a WICKED man, thus as He died, the Bible tells us "there were two ROBBERS crucified with Him."-Matthew 27:38.
After His body was removed
from the cross, "a RICH MAN named Joseph of Arimathaea went to Pilate and pleaded for the body of Jesus, and when Joseph had taken the body, he laid it IN HIS OWN NEW TOMB."-Matthew 27:57-60.-A "GRAVE WITH THE RICH!"
1,000 YEARS before Jesus was born, the Spirit of God prophesied through King David that the Saviour would be resurrected from the dead: "God will not leave His soul in the grave, neither will He suffer
His Holy One to see corruption or decay."-Psa.16:10.
King David died and was buried in a grave, and HIS flesh saw corruption and decay. But JESUS was raised
from the grave three days after His death!--As the Angel said to the mourners who came to Jesus' tomb, "He is not here, but is RISEN! Why do you seek the living among the dead?"-Lk.24:5,6.
SOURCE: Excerpt from 'WHO IS JESUS'? - © 1998