Why Did Jesus Call Himself, “The Son of Man?”

Jesus spoke of himself by the title, “The Son of Man,” more often than anything else. He sometimes called himself The Son of God, The Good Shepherd, The Door, The Bread of Life, and The Light of the World. He has many titles, but The Son of Man was his favorite.

I think it is my favorite too because he knows what it is like to be a human being on this planet. He understands our weaknesses. He is our brother during this great war between good and evil.

Jesus said, “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”

And immediately the man got up, picked up his mat, and walked out in front of them all. As a result, they were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”   Mark 2:10-12

Jesus said, “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at this glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”   Luke 7:33-35

“You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”   Matthew 26:2

“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.   Matthew 24:30

“So, if they tell you, ‘There He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.  For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”   Matthew 24:26,27

“For the Son of Man will come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will repay each one according to what he has done.”   Matthew 16:27

“Truly, truly, I tell you, the hour is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.  For as the Father has life in Himself, so also, He has granted the Son to have life in Himself. And He has given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.”  John 5:25-27

Jesus says God the Father has life in himself and has given that to him also. And he has given authority to Jesus to be the judge of all humankind. The reason? Because along with being the Son of God, he is the Son of Man, and it is this that gives him the insight to judge us. He was a human being like us and felt what it is like to be us. Therefore, he can judge correctly.

The Pulpit Commentary says this:

“Verse 27. – And he gave him (i.e. the Son, the God-Man) authority to execute judgment, because he is Son of man. He has vindicated his power to confer life upon the dead by asserting the possession by “the Son” of the Divine Sonship. He now adds, so far as the relation to man is concerned, his fitness and authority to administer justice, to preside over the entire juridical process, to lift the scales, to determine the destiny of the human race. The fitness is seen in this, that he, “the Son,” is “the Son of man.” The one term, “THE SON,” entirely covers the twofold Sonship. The proof of his humanity is assumed to be complete. The fact of it is the ground that he who knows what is in man should be the Judge of men.

By personal experience of man’s temptations and frailties; by knowing every palliation of our sins, every extenuation of our failures, every aggravation of our weakness; by gazing through human eyes with human consciousness upon our mysterious destiny, he is competent to judge; whereas by being Son of God as well as Son of man, he is entrusted with power to execute the judgment of the Eternal.

The principle involved is based upon perfect justice. The honour thus conferred on the God-Man is infinite, the consolation thus held out to man unspeakable. We are being judged by Christ, not by impersonal law. The entire incidence upon every individual of the Law is in the hands of the Redeemer. The Saviour, the Life-giver, the Voice which quickens the dead, assigns the judgment. We must be careful, in any inference we draw from this grand utterance, to avoid all suspicion of schism or rivalry between the Father and the Son. The Son is not more merciful than the Father. For the Father of the Old Testament pities his children, and knows their frame (Psalm 103:13, 14), and the Father of Jesus Christ loves the world, and counts the very hairs of our heads. The Son will not exercise this judgment with less regard to the claims of eternal justice than the Father; but his knowledge of humanity is, by the nature of the case, a guarantee of such application of the justice of God to the case of every individual, that man’s knowledge of himself will be able personally to justify and verify it. The Divine judgment will go forth from the heart of man himself.”

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