The enigma in the Son of Man

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.

Peter’s declaring that Jesus was the Son of God, insinuated Jesus could not have been ordinary. Interestingly, Christians are aware of being God’s Children, taking it from various Scriptural references; yet unaware that the term caused Jesus’ crucifixion.

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19-21 NIV).

Of interest is to imagine how Jesus’ murderers would have reacted, on hearing Paul talking like that. How could he blasphemously pronounce, “Members of the household of God”? No wonder why the apostles were also massacred.

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:11-14 NIV).

Why couldn’t the disciples be identified as Sons of Men, rather than God’s children? But more so, why is it no longer offensive to declare being God’s child? The answer is that Jesus atoned for Humanity to access Son-ship to God. From the Jewish point of view, Jesus reduced God’s divinity. Yet others still consider declaring being God’s child, offensive.

Ordinary Christians prefer respecting denominational leaders. They cannot take kindly, to those declaring to be God’s children. Hence, terms like “Man of God” referring to pastoral leaders are cherished. The pastors pretentiously call members of their denominational groupings, “God’s children,” without perceiving the connotation, of that term as having caused Jesus’ murder.

Those congregants feel approved by God when submitting to their pastor. They adore their pastor more than they adore Jesus Christ. However, the same congregants would be unaware of the significance of being called God’s children as making them equal to Jesus.

If equal to Jesus, how dare they prefer to idolize their Pastor, ahead of Jesus? Their pastor claims to be under Jesus but accepts being elevated, as to be above everyone else. This describes the confusion in Christianity.

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matthew 23:8-12)

Those pastors profess to submit to Jesus, but certainly, invalidate those they regard as their juniors. Christians assume the above Scripture confused, rather than them. The question is; do their pastors truthfully revere Jesus? The answer cannot be affirmative. They assume it is important for the congregants to be submissive to pastors as representing God’s authority.

That sounds plausible, but a departure from Christ’s teachings. Pastors are commonly respected, but certainly disapproved by the author of Christianity. One cannot claim to love Jesus and yet blatantly violate everything Jesus taught. The majority of people endorse such kind of befuddled mystification, assuming God approves of it.

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:12-15 NIV).

Firstly, the false prophets avoid doing unto others what they want to be done unto them. Secondly, the endorsement of some data by the majority does not validate its authenticity. Thirdly, false prophets in sheep’s clothing are designed to spiritually corrupt believers.

The term Son of Man is a degrading term. Jesus is the only one who carried human degradation on the cross. This term portrays the opposite of the reality of His identity. Only ordinary humans are fascinated by the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Mighty God.

This depicts the confusion, enveloping almost the entire Christian world. That confusion brings in the idea of the Trinity. This is born out of invalidating God’s children, who are expected to be submissive to pastoral authorities.

What Jesus said should always be highlighted, and yet invalidated. Only a few, entering through a small gate cannot fail to see the ferocious wolves. The majority feel approved of God when approved by such cunning characters. “For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many’” (Matthew 24:5 NIV).

When noticing carefully, those pastoral leaders take positions of Christ, but not recognizing themselves as “Sons of Men.” The term, “Son of Man,” is a degrading term, implying a degraded personality, having taken all sins of humanity to Himself.

Their duplicity is exposed in claiming to be “Men of God”, when not willing to accept the humility that goes with it. There is nothing honourable about the term “Son of Man,” except identifying the person who took the lowest position of the entire humanity.

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth”
Philippians 2:8-10 NIV).

While there is nothing adorable about the term “Son of Man,” all believers are implored to adopt its principle. There is no exception, whatsoever. I may understand things ahead of others, but that does not grant me authority over them. Each believer carries peculiar spiritual gifts, whose practice is according to Jesus’ authority.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:3-9 NIV).

According to the patterns of this world, conferring someone in a position of authority is considered necessary. That person is vetted according to the consideration of a person’s previous successes. Unfortunately, that removes Jesus from being in charge. If Jesus is allowed to take control, as the leader of God’s Church, positions are allocated according to His uncompromised wisdom.

None among each of those allocated with such respective positions can be said to be more important than others. This is like the physical structure of the human body. It is impossible to claim that one particular limb of the body should be regarded as more important than others. Paul was at pains, trying to explain this reality, to people, who continue to validate the idea of authoritarianism.

“Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body(1Corinthians 12:1-11 NIV).

From the above passage we see that those attempting to be “reasonable,” as to make others superior, are violators of Godly principle. They put themselves in the position of Christ, superintending over others. Each person, in whom the Spirit dwells, ought to be revered as God is revered. There is, actually, no difference between that person and God. This is what John also implied (1 John 4:20).

The term “Son of Man” should not excite believers, necessary, as designed to compound the significance of Jesus as Son of God. True believers maintain being God’s children, just as Jesus is the Son of God. The second-coming of Jesus will not surprise believers, but nonbelievers.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

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