The mystery of Jesus as Son of Man

In Jewish records, there is no inference of Jesus ever identified as a member of the Trinity, as implied by most Christians. The Hebrew term of a Messiah denotes “the anointed one.” The custom of anointing with oil is a ritual for a special designation for priestly, royal or sometimes even prophetic roles (such as the prophet Elisha).

The Messiah, in Judaism, is a significant figure, with the characteristics of a priest and king. He is understood to be the one who will change the world order in accordance with God’s will. There appears to be clarity, as far as the Jews are concerned, that the Messiah cannot be God. But the one anointed to restore order, not only in Israel but in the entire world.

Due to human failure to effectively interpret prophecies, the Jews assumed that the Messiah would come as a conquering hero. But their failure was mostly a result of the invalidation of humanity. Prophecies revealed the mysterious birth of the Messiah. The clear pronouncement of the birth of Jesus was portrayed by Isaiah.

For to us, a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace, there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV).

God cannot be the one reigning on David’s throne. But, as can be seen, the child carries the attributes of Godly nature. There is no curve in that reality. An ideal human being was created in God’s image, which ordinary humans had since lost, due to sinfulness.

Virtually, there is nothing blatantly wrong with calling Jesus God; just as there would be nothing blatantly wrong with calling anyone God. This is perfectly in the order of humans having been created in God’s image. What God created in His own image, carries the attributes of God. This is as was portrayed in one of the qualms projected by the Jews, against Jesus:

“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son?’”  (John 10:33-36 NIV).

What had infuriated the Jews was that Jesus had claimed that He and His Father were one. Their contention had been triggered by His mention of being God’s Son. He then attempted to remind them that they were also gods, quoting a Scriptural reference: “I said, ‘you are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High’ (Psalms 82:6 NIV).

Those Jews were as confused, just as the advocates of the Trinity are also mystified. Later, the apostle John confirmed this reality, so that the true followers of Jesus cannot be swayed into anything else. There is generally no difference between God and humanity.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister” (1 John 4:18-21 NIV).

These Scriptures are among the few that quash the idea of the Trinity. As the custodians of the Holy Scriptures, those Jews ought to have perfectly understood Jesus, in John 10:34-36. A Son of God cannot be viewed as different from God. By rejecting being God’s children, those Jews confirmed that they were, actually, the devil’s children.

His disciples may have also been sceptical, but, at least, not succumbing to behaving like the Jews. They had not yet received the Holy Spirit, although having established that Jesus was the Messiah. They lacked the significance of that reality, as revealed by Philip’s pursuance of this matter:

If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”  Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:7-9 NIV).

What Jesus stated is not different from what John also wrote: “For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:20). The most important component in these Scriptures is confirmation of God’s declaration, at the beginning:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:26-27 NIV).

As not created in God’s image, other creatures are not God’s Children. When Jesus confirmed Himself as God’s Son, He was not insinuating a conjecture of His secretive existence. In John 10:34-36, Jesus attempted to show the Jews that His pronouncement had not departed from the Scriptures.

Ordinary people knew Jesus as the Son of Man. But to His disciples, Jesus had maintained being God’s Son. As Son of man, He would be treated badly. But those treating Him badly would not be aware of mistreating God.

For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:20).

Confusion in Christianity is in not knowing the identity of Jesus, just as one would also be oblivious of the identity of humanity. Our Theologians cannot be blamed for their idea of a Trinity. They are guided by analytical observations, more than they ought to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Ordinary humans cannot comprehend the nature of being God. This is why, to Peter, Jesus said, flesh and blood could not reveal the mystery about His identity (Matthew 16:17). Peter had seen what ordinary people could not see.

In Jesus, they saw the Son of Man, which is how Jesus also identified Himself to them. The same Son of Man had been seen ascending to Heaven (Acts 1:11). The same Son of Man would later be seen descending from the skies.

“At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26 NIV). As long as unaware of the differences, as delineated by Peter (Matthew 16:17), Christians remain mystified. Only the careful observers would notice that those waiting for the second coming of Jesus cannot, necessarily, be Christians.

This is validated in the entire chapter of John 14. Jesus clearly showed that there would never be a time that Christians would be without Jesus. The world would not see Jesus, but Christians would be with the one identified by Peter as the Son of the Living God (Matthew. 16:17).

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness” (Romans 8:6-10 NIV).

In their condition of physical existence, those of this world are waiting for the Son of Man’s Second Coming. But His followers, as no longer putting a value on physical existence, were never left as orphans. This is why they are not afraid of death, having discovered a lack of value in physical nature, but valuing the Spirit.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:18-21 NIV).

Failure to distinguish between the Son of Man and the Son of God, as delineated in Matthew 16:16, causes confusion. There is nothing surprising when our Theologians fail to understand this. Jesus said flesh and blood cannot reveal it, but God in Heaven.

What can be most fascinating is the impossibility to love Jesus, when unable to love those in one’s surroundings. This exposes liars. As long as invalidating other fellow humans, one would be invalidating God. But the same person would be adulating the Son of Man, who left the scene after the resurrection?

This is profound and extremely important to be disseminated widely, by the enlightened ones. But nothing is surprising if others prefer suppressing information, such as this one. The Jews could not have picked up stones, seeking to kill the Master of our destiny, having directly heard it from Him (John 10:33-36).

The Son of Man worshippers cannot identify with the Son of God. In their imaginations, they carry fantasies of what Jesus should look like. It takes only the enlightened ones to exercise scepticism. Otherwise, the deceived people are the ones who appear more confident than those on the side of truth.

The voice of the Lord continues, crying in the wilderness. Ignored and trampled upon, that voice will, nevertheless, make sense to the few, chosen ones. The blinding factor remains to be the inability to see the difference between the Son of Man and the Son of God.

This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him’” (Matthew 3:3 NIV).

The Son of Man has not been involved in preaching the gospel, since His ascension to Heaven. But the Son of the living God has been fully involved, although not identified by those of this world. He has been using those whom He calls His brothers, in the length and breadth of this world. The world cannot know those people, just as the same world could not know the Son of Man.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you as a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:35-40 NIV).

It should be quite fascinating to notice that even the righteous ones, would have been oblivious of the Son of Man! Herein, we find the mystery that our learned Theologians have not discovered from time immemorial. The sincere ones will, henceforth, realize that God’s revelation has got nothing to do with theological studies. Only God Almighty is the revealer.

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. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.

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