The Son of Man
This month, our study of Matthew has looked at several points in Jesus’ ministry when His magnificence was revealed. Peter’s great confession at Caesarea Philippi (16:16) proclaims our Lord as the “Son of the living God.” The transfiguration (17:1–8), in particular, is a striking illustration of the majesty of our Savior. In order that we might better understand and praise the majesty of the second person of the Trinity, especially as He is revealed in the names given to Him in Scripture, we will take a short break from Matthew’s gospel and spend a week on Dr. R.C. Sproul’s teaching series The Majesty of Christ.
The various titles ascribed to Jesus in the New Testament give us insight into His majesty. Were we to sit down and count the frequency of each, we would find that the Greek title christos, which we translate as “Christ,” is the title most often used of Jesus in the New Testament. Christ is not Jesus’ last name, of course; it means “anointed one” (like a king). Next in frequency of the titles ascribed to Jesus in the New Testament is the title kurios, that is, “Lord.” The use of kurios is striking because the Greek Old Testament uses it to translate the creator God’s name, Yahweh. The application of the Greek translation of this name to Jesus in the New Testament is evidence of our Savior’s divine identity. In calling Jesus kurios, the apostles are identifying Him with Yahweh.
Of all the titles for Jesus found in the New Testament, huiou tou anthropou, Greek for “Son of Man,” ranks third in terms of total usage. However, of all the titles Jesus uses for Himself, Son of Man holds first place. This indicates the importance of the title and we should therefore pay close attention to it.
As with all the titles of Jesus, Son of Man is to be understood in light of its Old Testament context. When we examine the old covenant Scriptures, we find that the title Son of Man is used repeatedly for the prophet Ezekiel (see Ezek. 2:1, for example). This is not the primary use Jesus has in mind when he calls Himself the Son of Man, but it cannot be discounted either. If it can be used repeatedly for the prophet Ezekiel, surely Jesus must intend on some level to reveal Himself as a prophet when He refers to Himself as the Son of Man.
Coram deo: Living before the face of God
Though we heed His teaching in the Gospels, we can forget that Jesus is a prophet. In fact, He is the prophet, par excellence. As the Word of God (John 1:1), He speaks, by the Spirit, throughout Scripture. Some people believe that Jesus has nothing to say about topics never mentioned in the Gospels, even if they are discussed in other biblical books. But all the doctrines of the Bible are the doctrines of Jesus, even if they are not directly recorded in the Gospels.
For further study:
The Bible in a year: