Monday, September 19, 2022

The Son of Man (Daniel 7)

“I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven!” (Dan. 7:13a).

Last week we studied how Jesus fulfilled both the kingly and priestly offices as the Messiah. We will take a deeper look into this theme of Christ’s kingship and majesty throughout the week.

When Jesus preached the coming kingdom of God, the cultural and political environment was dangerous. The Roman Empire controlled Palestine and crushed religious zealots who incited the people to rebellion. The powerful leaders and religious elite in Jerusalem grew in opposition to Jesus’ message. Yet, Jesus did not react with cowardice or fear. He remained steadfast in His ministry and His journey to the Cross.

One of the central controversies surrounding Jesus was His claim as the Son of Man. Jesus even asked His disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?” By using this title most frequently to identify Himself, Jesus reinforced the reality of who He was. Why did He call such attention to this designation? Typically understood, this title points to Jesus’ humanity. It was a designation given to the prophets of the Old Testament, and many people see it in stark contrast to the title Son of God, which emphasizes His divinity. This view, while not incorrect, does not do justice to the true meaning behind Son of Man.

The roots of the title Son of Man are found primarily in the Old Testament, specifically Daniel 7 where the prophet saw into the inner court of heaven. Daniel witnessed the divine exaltation of the Son of Man whom God gave everlasting dominion and glory as well as the kingdom of heaven. The title, surprisingly, was used of a divine being, not human. The Son of Man was portrayed as descending in the form of humanity and ascending to His divine origin (thus fulfilled at Christ’s ascension—Acts 1:9–11).

Jesus emphasized this divine origin when He declared that “the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Matt. 9:1–8) and “the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Matt. 12:1–14). The understanding of this title in Scripture is that the Son of Man is God Himself. This was the heart of the controversy that surrounded Jesus of Nazareth—a controversy that eventually culminated in His death on the cross.

Jesus said He has the authority on earth to forgive sins. Do you go to Him confessing your sins and asking for forgiveness? When you have confessed, accept that He has forgiven you and do not hang onto your sins. Know that Christ is willing and able to forgive all your sins today.