SON OF MAN - SON OF GOD
By Larry White
(Originally delivered in Boise, ID. April 21, 2002)
I would like to explore with you two aspects of the nature of Christ. He has many characteristics, but I would like to just look at his dual nature as the Son of Man and as the Son of God.
I. The Son of Man
A. The term and its significance.
It is found 55 times in the gospels. "Son of" also carries the meaning "quality of". For example, the Hebrew prefix BAR in a personal name means "the son of". Hence, Barnabas means "son of consolation or encouragement". His personality was filled with that characteristic. So the term "Son of Man" is not simply to de-emphasize or hide his title of Son of God, but Jesus intended to define the relation in which he stands to humanity: "man par excellence", the true man, the perfect realization in the mind of God. His life is the realization of the normal development to which, in principle, every human being is designed. He is the only one, so far as we know, to have achieved it.
B. Son of Man as seen in his miraculous birth.
Just as the first man had a miraculous beginning with God as his father - so Jesus, the second Adam, has a supernatural birth.
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God
45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
So God is creating a second creation with a new man, and from him to produce a new humanity in a new age.
1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.
2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.
6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
C. Son of Man as seen in his immersion by John for the remission of sins.
5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him
6 and were immersed by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be immersed by him.
14 And John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be immersed by you, and are you coming to me?”
15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him.
16 When he had been immersed, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon him.
17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Jesus here, identifies himself with sinful Israel and comes to John - making, in sympathy for his people, the sin of the whole nation his own. He is also an Israelite, so he does what is right.
D. Son of Man as seen in his temptation.
Satan, in the three temptations, tries to get Jesus to abandon his true state as man, step out of his role and rely on his own resources, and so cutting himself off from the filial Father/Son relationship. Had Jesus succumbed to any of the temptations, he would have divorced himself from the Father and denied his true state as a man. The man who is no longer man, the Christ who is no longer Christ, the son who is no longer Son. These were the things that were at stake when Jesus was tempted.
E. Son of Man as seen in his holiness.
Since the offence of mankind was precipitated by men in their sin, the fitting sacrifice would also have to be given by a man. But not for his own sins. so he had to be spotless, without blemish, consecrated to God.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
The dedication of his whole being to God (even to being the sacrificial victim), all his faculties were progressively dedicated entirely to God's service or else sacrificed because they were not applicable to his work of redemption. He became thereby the perfect man. (Heb.2:10)
F. Son of Man as seem in the transfiguration.
Lk.9:28-36 (Mt.17; Mk.9)
28 Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that he took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray.
29 As he prayed, the appearance of his face was altered, and his robe became white and glistening.
30 And behold, two men talked with him, who were Moses and Elijah,
31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his decease which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
32 But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.
33 Then it happened, as they were parting from him, that Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” – not knowing what he said.
34 While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the cloud.
35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved son. Hear him!”
36 When the voice had ceased, Jesus was found alone. But they kept quiet, and told no one in those days any of the things they had seen.
Being the ideal of man as God intended a man to be, there was for Jesus two modes of departing this world.
1. Translation to glory - which was his right according to his holiness, agreeable to the Spirit of holiness. This would be the normal and fitting end to an earthly life for the Son of Man. The meaning of the transfiguration on the mount could be that if he had not needed to die for the sins of mankind, he would not have had to come back down from that mount, but would have simply gone on to glory and stayed there.
2. Or the death of the cross, which was under discussion as he was standing with Moses and Elijah. To be the perfect, unblemished sacrificial victim for the sins of all mankind, a representative man in every way both in life and in death.
5 For he has not put the world about to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.
6 But one testified in a certain place, saying:
“What is man that you are mindful of him,
Or the son of Man that you take care of him?
7 You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of your hands.
8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that he, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting for him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11 For both he who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
“I will declare your name to my brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to you.”
13 And again:
“I will put my trust in him.”
“Here am I and the children whom God has given me.”
14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared in the same, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16 For indeed he does not give aid to angels, but he does give aid to the seed of Abraham.
17 Therefore, in all things he had to be made like his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
18 For in that he himself has suffered, being tempted, he is able to aid those who are tempted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon him,
And by his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And Jehovah has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Jno.3 Remember the brass serpent.
G. The Son of Man as seen in his resurrection.
He is our representative in death, because of our guilt - he is our representative in the resurrection because of our justification. (Rom.4:25)
21 For since through a man death came, also by a man came the resurrection of the dead.
16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together.
18 For I account that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to come which shall be revealed unto us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
His death is our death. His burial is our burial. His resurrection is our resurrection. His glorification is our glorification. His life is our life.
H. He is now Lord of all.
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him,
18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power
20 which he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is about to come.
22 And he put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things [for] the assembly,
23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
15 he is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through him and for him.
17 And he is before all things, and in him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he may have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him all the fullness should dwell,
20 and by him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of his cross.
7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, in order that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
So, Jesus as a man, now reigns in heaven on our behalf, and he as man has gone through every change and every state that we could possibly experience, so that be could go there first for us and conquer it all for us, so that as we follow him there, we should have no worries or fears. As a Christian, there is no place you can go or any condition you can find yourself in that Jesus has not already been there before you and paved the way.
We used to look at the definition and course of a man as what we saw in the first Adam. "Dust you are, to dust you will return." But now the new Adam has given us a whole new definition of man and course for his life. We see in Jesus the Son of Man, what man is and is to become.
When we consider ourselves, we used to think of Adam in the garden - now when we consider ourselves, we should look to the new Adam - the one glorified in heaven. That is the Son of Man! That is with whom we should be identifying.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him,
9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died to Sin once for all; but in that he lives, he lives to God.
11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to Sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
II. The Son of God.
Jesus was and is also the Son of God like no other. He existed with the Father before the foundation of the world.
A. This is seen at his birth.
Mt.1:23 ...His name shall be called Immanuel, being translated, "God with us."
B. It is seen in what he calls himself.
Jesus never says, "our Father", but always "My Father", and "your Father."
Jesus has an intimate and unique relationship with the Father.
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank you, father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.
26 Even so, father, for so it seemed good in your sight.
27 All things have been delivered to me by my father, and no one fully knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone fully know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal him.
5 And now, O father, glorify me together with yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was.
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom you have given me may be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which you have given me; for you loved me before the foundation of the world.
(Notice here also that the glory is the love the Father has for the son from eternity.)
C. His deity is seen in what he says of himself.
48 Then the Jews answered and said to him, “Do we not say rightly that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor my father, and you dishonor me.
50 And I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks and judges.
51 Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word by no means will he ever see death.”
52 Then the Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and you say, “If anyone keeps my word by no means will he ever taste death.’
53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do you make yourself out to be?”
54 Jesus answered, “If I honor myself, my honor is nothing. It is my father who honors me, of whom you say that he is your God.
55 Yet you have not known him, but I know him. And if I say, “I do not know him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know him and keep his word.
56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.”
57 Then the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
59 Then they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
Again, this great being of love and light took upon himself the likeness of our flesh and ran the course of a human life to perfectly fulfill what God had in mind for us all along. He totally identified with us in our lowly state and sacrificed himself to lift us up. We now can identify with him in his exalted state and live unto him above the circumstances we have in the world. We can look to Jesus.
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
~ Invitation ~