What Did Jesus Mean by “the Son of Man”?

The designation “Son of Man” graces the pages of Matthew 32 times, Mark 15 times, Luke 26 times, and John 12 times. In the initial trio of Gospels, this appellation consistently emanates from Christ’s own lips, never uttered by an angel, human, or demon.

Within John’s context, Christ employs the term on 10 occasions, reserving its use for two instances by others, both steeped in criticism and disbelief: “We have heard from the law that the Christ abides forever; why then do you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” These are the sole instances across all Gospels where entities other than Christ utter the term.

It stands as Christ’s self-portrait, forging a link between Him and humanity, elucidating His intimate and affirmative connection to the human race.

What Did Jesus Mean by “the Son of Man”

For a specific illustration, let us delve into the temptation narrative, wherein the Lord stands firmly on the plane of humanity. In the wilderness, facing temptations as a representative of the human race, a stance not solely attributed to my perspective but affirmed by His own words.

In response to the inaugural temptation, He asserted: “Man shall not live by bread alone,” implying His presence in the wilderness on the human echelon, embodying the role assumed by every individual. He adheres to the divine law shaping human life.

Confronting the second temptation, His declaration ensued: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.” Here, He willingly subjects Himself to the divine limitations governing every other human existence, proclaiming adherence to the same law essential for the realization of human life.

In retort to the third temptation: “You shall not tempt the Lord your God,” He underscores that the governing law aligns precisely with that applicable to others. Hence, the terminologies delineating His connection to humanity substantiate His absolute affinity with the human race, his thorough integration with the human experience.

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