Ordinary people cannot see the difference between the “Son of Man” and the “Son of God.” For those willing to understand New Testament teachings, the spotting of such differences is vital. The term “Son of God,” caused Jesus to be crucified. Why did Jesus consistently refer to Himself as the Son of Man, rather than the Son of God? Below is a provocative encounter:
But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips” (Luke 22:69-71 NIV).
How can the Son of Man be seated at the right hand of the Mighty God? As far as the Jews were concerned, that was blasphemy. They posed a direct question: “Are you then the Son of God?” To which Jesus responded affirmatively; thereby, validating His condemnation: “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips” (Luke 22:71 NIV).
Jesus would have probably not been crucified, had He maintained calling Himself, “Son of Man.” They then sought to clarify His insinuation that He would be seated at the right hand of the Mighty God. The Jews knew that the right-hand seat was reserved for the Messiah. But they considered Jesus not deserving of such an honour.
Jesus spoke to ordinary people in parables. Therefore, the term “Son of Man” can be taken as another parabolic term describing His identity. There is a special reason for Jesus not intending ordinary people to know His true identity. The secrets of the Kingdom were hidden from ordinary people.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah (Matthew 16:13-20).
Right at this point, the secret is revealed. “Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah” (Matthew 16:20). The disciples were ordered to hide the secret. Jesus told Peter of being blessed to know the secret, which flesh and blood could not reveal.