Jesus is… the Son of Man
“43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
50 Jesus said, “You believe[h] because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you,[i] you[j] will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’[k] the Son of Man.” John 1:43-51 NIV (emphasis mine)
We see in the passage here that Jesus was referred to as the Son of Man. The term Son of Man is probably taken from Daniel 7, which spoke of the son of man as a very high and exalted figure.
“13In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14 NIV (emphasis mine)
We can see from Daniel 7 that the Son of Man was not simply someone with a human nature, namely you or I. The Son of Man was one given great authority, glory, and power over all peoples. His dominion is everlasting and will never be destroyed. This was Jesus’ favorite designation of Himself. In the Gospels, Jesus most often referred to Himself as the Son of Man, not the Son of God. Verses like Mark 10:45
“45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 NIV
Jesus is very subtle in using the title Son of Man. On one hand, everyone is the son of man, but to those who understood Daniel 7, would recognize He was claiming a very exalted role. The term Son of Man has a double meaning. It communicates Jesus as being fully human on one hand, and according to Daniel 7, being an exalted heavenly authority.
In John 1:51, we see the reference to Jesus divinity where Jesus is referred to as the “Son of Man”, and Jacob’s Ladder from Genesis 28:1-10 is alluded to, “between earth and heaven, revealing God to men and taking men to God.” The Jews knew Jacob’s Ladder as a stairway between heaven and earth which the angels ascended and descended. When Jesus refers to Jacob’s Ladder, He basically says “that’s Me.” “Upon Me,” Jesus says, “the angels ascend and descend. I am the ladder.”
The Jews knew that Jacob’s Ladder served two purposes.
1 – Jacob’s Ladder revealed God to men
2 – Jacob’s Ladder took men to God.
When Jesus, the Son of Man, reveals Himself as Jacob’s Ladder in verse 51, He is showing that He will both reveal God to men and take men to God. Amazing!
Thank You Jesus that You are the Son of Man – The One who reveals God to men and takes men (and women of course) to God. In the Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, amen.
Ty Tamasaka is an author who hold a Master of Arts Degree from Pacific Rim Christian University in Christian Ministry He is a Bible teacher who loves to encourage people to enjoy Jesus’ grace and extend His Kingdom. Ty just released his new book More than a Conqueror: 5 Pathways to Personal Revival.