Son of Man, Part 2
Why is Jesus called the Son of Man? It’s not a name that stirs up thoughts of royalty or majesty like many of His other names do. In fact, it’s used in the Old Testament to refer to lowly humans. Yet this title was used to confront the Gentile school of thought and to portray Jesus in a new, personal way with a lesson for us to learn. We continue studying this term this week in part 2 of our 3-part series on this name.
We begin with an interaction between Jesus and the mother of James and John. When she asked that they be given prominent positions of power in heaven, Jesus flipped her way of thinking completely. Power is not seeking to be first, full of prestige and dominance. Power is seeking to serve and sacrifice for others—just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.
If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can Listen Here.
Steve Conover: Welcome to the Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. We have a great show for you today but before Chris comes, as I have been, I'd like to encourage you to visit our website foiradio.org. You'll find trustworthy and accurate news on Israel and the Middle East. And while you're there, you can support our ministry, if the Lord leads you, by clicking on the donate button and helping us continue teaching biblical truth about Israel and the Jewish people Truth you won't hear on most radio programs. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: So we're continuing our study, Steve, on the Son of man. We looked at the Old Testament and what it taught about the Son of man last week. And this week, we're going to see ... we talked about the fact that there are multifaceted aspects to the name “Son of man” that Jesus loved to use about himself. We're going to look at one aspect today that I think is really going to shock people about how Jesus took this power and authority that was given to him and what he did with it. So again, it's going to be a great program.
Steve Conover: But first in the news, aliyah is a Hebrew word meaning to “go up.” But it's also used for the word immigration. In the first five months of 2022, the Jewish state has welcomed over 1000 new immigrants to Israel and is now gearing up for a major wave of aliyah this summer. What makes this influx so different is that these immigrants come from North America. Israel is expecting over 2000 individuals from over 20 states and provinces across the United States and Canada to make aliyah during the summer months. The wave comes after a two-year hiatus due to COVID restrictions.
Chris Katulka: Steve, I was recently looking at the population of the Jewish people and how they've migrated over just the past 80 years. And it's fascinating because today, Israel has the largest population of Jewish people all around the world. The second-largest is the United States. And it's amazing where the Jewish people used to be prior to World War II and the Holocaust was centered right there in Eastern Europe. But now we're seeing them spread either in Israel or in the United States.
And the thing is this is that God continues to draw the Jewish people back to Israel just as he promised in the prophets. And it says this in Ezekiel: "Then the Lord, your God, will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you. And He will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. He will raise up a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the Earth." Steve, God's at work.
Chris Katulka: We are in the middle of a series we've titled The Son of Man. The title “Son of man” is an honorific title that stands out in the New Testament for Jesus. One that roots back to the Old Testament. And when the Jewish people in Jesus' day heard this honorific title, they knew exactly what it meant and who it was talking about.
But here's what's interesting. This honorific title doesn't sound so honorific. It doesn't sound like “Messiah.” It doesn't sound like the “King of kings.” It doesn't sound like the “High Priest.” Those sound honorific. Yet the title Son of man is used 30 times in Matthew, 14 times in Mark, 25 times in Luke, and 13 times in John. It was one of Jesus' favorite titles to call himself.
Now, last week we unpacked the meaning behind the title “Son of man” or in Hebrew, Ben Adam. It simply means, Son of man simply means, a human. And it's found 96 times in the Old Testament. And now if you didn't get a chance to listen to last week's program, you can simply go to foiradio.org and there in our archives page, you'll be able to listen to not only this week's program, but last week's program as well. So if you'd like to catch up on this series, go to foiradio.org.
Now listen, the passage that we want to focus on that becomes very important in the Old Testament is the way that Daniel handles the title Son of man. It's the passage in Daniel that matters to us most because Daniel does something very interesting with the designation Son of man or human. And Ezekiel and Job, it just means human. And in Daniel, it means human too but it's what this human, this Son of man, is doing that drums up so much interest and why Jesus likes to call himself the Son of man.
Daniel saw visions of the kingdoms of the world falling away and giving way to God's everlasting kingdom. And this is what he saw in Daniel chapter 7, starting in verse 13: "I was watching in the night visions and with the clouds of the skies, one like the Son of man was approaching. And he went up to the Ancient of days and he was escorted before him. To him was given ruling authority, honor, and sovereignty. All peoples, nations, and language groups were serving him. His authority is eternal. It will not pass away. His kingdom will not be destroyed."
Okay. So this Son of man is definitely different from the use in Ezekiel and Job. This is a human, everybody, that is doing some extraordinary actions. Notice first of all the Son of man, the meaning of Son of man doesn't change in Daniel. It simply means human but Daniel sees this human doing some amazing stuff. He's riding on clouds. He's approaching the Ancient of days. He looks and sounds and acts like a human. But he walks up to God without any hesitation. And once he's brought before God, God bestows on him all authority, honor, and sovereignty.
That means that this human-like figure has divine qualities that cannot be overlooked. And this One, God makes the Ruler of the world, the King of kings. Jesus is the Son of man. He's the one God has given all authority, power, and dominion, to rule over every tribe, every nation, every tongue. And yet, when we get to the gospels, I want you to see what Jesus does with this title.
I want to orient you with the mentality, I love doing this, with the mentality of the disciples who were following the Son of man, Jesus. Remember, they knew what the Son of man was. The one who approached the Ancient of days, the one who received all dominion and authority over every tribe, tongue, and nation. So you have to imagine that the disciples immediately had certain expectations for Jesus.
Last week, I mentioned that when Jesus said in Matthew 16, "Who do people say that the Son of man is?" The disciples gave him a response from what they heard. But when Jesus said, "Well who do you say that I am?" Remember Peter's response? He said, "You're the Messiah. You're the King. You're the Christ, the son of the living God." Essentially he's saying, you're the Son of man who God has bestowed all authority to. These fishermen from Galilee are now hanging out with the King of Israel. And you have to imagine what they were thinking when they were walking with him. What they were thinking and what they were feeling. They went from the boats of Galilee to being the king's men. And there's a lot of power and prestige and honor with that and they knew it. They definitely knew it. Even the disciples' mothers knew it.
Listen to Matthew chapter 20 starting in verse 20. Listen to the disciples' mothers approaching Jesus about this newfound power and prestige of being a man in the inner circle of the Son of man. Matthew chapter 20, verse 20 says, "Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons. And kneeling down, she asked him for a favor. He said to her, "What do you want?" And she replied, "Permit these two sons of mine to sit. One at your right hand and one at your left in your kingdom." Jesus answered, "You don't know what you're asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I'm about to drink?" And they said to him, "We are able." And he told them, "You will drink my cup but to sit at my right hand and my left is not mine to give. Rather it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."" Now when the other 10 heard this, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them. And those in high positions use their authority over them."
I love this passage. Here's the mother of James and John doing what all good mothers should do. She's ensuring that her sons succeed in life even if it means embarrassing them to do it. She approaches Jesus, the Son of man, and requests her boys have seats of power right next to him. Jesus is going to give James, John, their mother, and the rest of the disciples a lesson on power and the meaning of power in the kingdom. Because their view of power and success has been skewed by how the rest of the world interprets power and success.
Notice Jesus says, "You don't understand what you're asking when it comes to power." Because you're thinking like the Gentile world and how they measure power and success. Jesus says, "You know that the rulers of the Gentile lorded over them and those in high positions used their authority over them." Jesus is saying this on purpose. Remember this? When we talked about Daniel? Daniel, when we go back to the Son of man in Daniel, Daniel is talking about the Son of man coming on the clouds and approaching the Ancient of days and God gives the Son of man dominion and power and authority over every nation forever. God's kingdom will prevail over the kingdoms of the Gentiles in Daniel. And yet the disciples, even their moms, are thinking like the Gentiles and their power structures. Jesus is going to challenge their thinking and their worldview by using this honorific title, the Son of Man.
But before we do that, before we continue, I just want to let you know that I just love it when we get a chance to talk about the Jewish roots of the Bible. I hope that you see that already, as we've been doing the Friends of Israel Today for seven years. It's amazing how it opens our eyes when we look at the Bible from a Jewish perspective, how it opens our eyes to God's intentional plan for His people all throughout time.
Steve Conover: Yeah. And one of the greatest responses we hear from our listeners is when we, as Christians, dig deep into our Jewish roots, is how great it is to make this important connection.
Chris Katulka: So Steve, this is why I'm excited because we've not been able to meet in-person at our national conferences. But now, they're back. And actually, our upcoming national conference is all about the Seven Feasts of Israel where we're going to be looking at Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits.
Steve Conover: It's going to be fantastic to be together again in-person for the first time in a while. And we want to invite you all listening to attend one of our two dates and locations.
Chris Katulka: So we have two dates. Are you ready? You got to write this down. July 22nd to the 24th, we'll be at Winona Lake, Indiana. And then on September 11 through the 13th, we'll be in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Steve Conover: Come discover God's rhythms of redemption through the Feasts of Israel. Join us at one of our national conferences. To learn more, visit foi.org/conferences. Again, that's foi.org/conferences.
Chris Katulka: Okay. So we've been studying this title that Jesus uses a lot concerning himself, the Son of man. And he's about to challenge the disciplines understanding of power especially as they realize that they're walking with the Son of man from Daniel chapter 7. The one to whom all authority and power has been given to rule over everything. The mother of John and James is pushing for Jesus to let her sons sit at the highest seats of power next to him. And that's when Jesus says this: "Don't think like the Gentile Nations."
In verse 26, he says, "It must not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant. And whoever wants to be first among you, must be your slave. Just as the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many." Did you hear that in Matthew chapter 20? Did you see how Jesus used this honorific title that encapsulates divine power and authority and dominion over everything? That honorific title, Son of man. Jesus says, "Don't think like the Gentiles who use their power to lord over others for the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many."
The Son of man, who it was written, “to him was given all ruling authority, honor, and sovereignty. All people's nations and language groups were serving him. His authority is eternal and will not pass away. His kingdom will not be destroyed.” The same Son of man said “he did not come to be served but to serve.” As a Jewish person living in Jesus' day, if there was one person you would expect to have an entourage of servants, butlers, valets, drivers, cleaners, and a staff, it's the Son of man. But see, Jesus flips this position on its head and says, "It must not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant. And whoever wants to be first among you, must be your slave."
In the Son of man's paradigm of power, power isn't to lord over others. Power isn't a model for success. Power isn't prestige. No, in the Son of man's paradigm of power, it means being last, not first. It means being a servant to those you lead. It means sacrificing what's best for you over the good of others. That's what true power and authority is. That not only did the Son of man not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. That he sacrificed his own life, his own relationship with his father, so that the many might have eternal life.
Whenever I teach on the Son of man and how Jesus says that the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many, I begin to think about the Son of man from Daniel chapter 7. The one who God bestows all power and authority to rule over every nation, tribe, and tongue. I just think of the moment when Jesus, the Son of man, humbled himself to wash the feet of his disciples.
Listen to how John describes this moment. Listen to this. "Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him and that he had come from God and was going back to God, he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothing, took a towel, and tied it around himself. He poured water into a wash basin and began to wash the disciples' feet. And he dried them with a towel that he had wrapped around himself." Did you hear that? Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him. That's Daniel 7, 13, and 14. God giving Jesus authority over his creation. And in knowing that God bestowed on him all authority, Jesus took the moment to wash his disciples' feet. Try to wrap your mind around that for a moment. That the King of kings who sits at the right hand of the Father washed his disciples' feet.
I just heard a great saying today from my colleague and it comes from a fantastic preacher and teacher. His name's David Glock. And he said, "You know you're a servant when they treat you like one." What is success and leadership and what does power look like to you? Well I can tell you how Jesus modeled it. The Son of man did not come to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many.
Steve Conover: Chris, when I think about the idea of not thinking like the Gentiles, I think about the way the Gentiles would have viewed their gods. And that their gods could have, at any time, have a cosmic fit because they're in a bad mood. And it was about power and just this feeling of what kind of mood is my god in today?
But that's radically different and what a challenge it must have been to hear about Jesus saying, don't think that way about divinity. But it's so radically different that it's someone that's coming to serve.
Chris Katulka: That's right. That the very one that God gave, he bestowed on him authority over everything, he could have come down in all authority and power and had his servants and been served. And I'm sure that that's the way that people thought. But he flips it on the table and he washes the feet and leaves us a model for what leadership should look like. And you know what else I love is that the leadership books that I'm reading today are about servant ... Coming from the secular world, are about servant leadership that's rooted right here. Where here is someone with authority and power and yet Jesus flips it on the table and says, "You know what? I'm going to use this opportunity to serve others."
Steve Conover: Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor, Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: Last week, I had an extraordinary experience. As I was walking with my children in the old city of Jerusalem on the way to buy groceries, we passed an ice cream parlor and they would ask me to buy them an ice cream cone. And naturally, Ruth and Victor wanted the same. And so we went inside and bought the treats. And as the children were eating their ice cream, I noticed a man sitting at a table reading aloud the Psalms.
I knew this man and realized that he was not the Psalm-reading type. So I asked him if someone in his family was sick. It is customary among Jewish people to read the Psalms when a family member is sick. "No," he replied. "No one in my family is sick." He then led me into a back room where I saw four men sitting at a table playing cards. Intrigued, I asked, "What does reading the Psalms have to do with playing cards?" He told me a sad and sordid story.
He was a habitual card player and had lost all of his money. In desperation, he went to a so-called wise man for advice. This wise man counseled him to borrow more money and hire an expert card player to win back what he had lost. He therefore borrowed a considerable amount of money and even pawned his wife's gold watch which he had given to her before their marriage. Then he started to recite the Psalms thinking that would help him win back his money and his wife's gold watch.
Soon however, he had lost the borrowed money and the money received from the watch. And now he was ashamed and even afraid to go home. "What shall I do?" he asked in despair." “First,” I replied, "You must immediately stop playing cards or participating in any other form of gambling. Otherwise, you will suffer an even greater calamity. And then you must pray to God to give you a new heart and a new spirit." In his anxiety and embarrassment, he promised to do all that I'd told him but he begged me to go home with him as he was ashamed and afraid of his wife and children.
After completing my shopping, I took my children home and then accompanied this man to his home. And then I found his wife, distraught and very angry. The children looked hungry and dirty and lacked proper clothing and shoes. I spoke quietly to his wife and told her she should try and forgive him. Otherwise, this situation would become even more desperate. And little by little, I managed to quiet her. Her husband wept and promised never to play cards again but I told him, "Unless you accept the Messiah into your heart, you will never be able to keep that promise." His wife then asked, "How can a decent man like you befriend such a wretch as my husband who's sins weigh more than he himself?" I told her that our Savior came to heal those who are sick, people just like her husband. "It is possible," I said, "that the Lord allowed him to get into this predicament so that he would realize his own helplessness. Perhaps God views me as his messenger to help him."
After I left, the husband and wife were reconciled. A few days later, he found a job and now he works at my side. Last Sabbath, I went to this family's home and took them with me to our place of worship. And after the service, I invited them to my home for dinner. Let us pray for the salvation of this family. The Lord is able.
Steve Conover: We're so glad you chose to join us for The Friends of Israel Today. We heard part two of the Son of Man. Chris concludes his series on the Son of Man next week. We hope you'll join us. And, as we've been asking, you know we want to create content for you that enriches your life, draws you closer to the Lord, a deeper understanding of His Word and also His program for Israel. We ask that you let us know how we're doing. Contact us using the form at foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org. We'd love to know how we're serving you.
Chris Katulka: Hey, and you know what? If you're a podcast listener and you're listening on Apple, would you take the time to rate our program? I can't tell you how much it means to us when we see that this program is helping others deepen their relationship with the Lord. And on top of that, your comments and ratings will expose The Friends of Israel Today to new listeners as well. So if you believe it's important to teach about Israel and the Jewish people from a biblical perspective, leave us a comment so that others can benefit from the Friends of Israel Today.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold and I'm Steve Conover, Executive Producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Once again, that's FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099.
And one last quick reminder. Visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
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Apples of Gold: The Peacemaker
Seeing a man distraught one evening, Zvi approached him and asked if he was okay. When he heard the man had spent all of his money on gambling, Zvi told him he needed to find peace from the only One who could change his heart. The man had relationships to repair with his family, so Zvi helped the man get home to tell his wife the truth about his gambling. He then took time to share God’s promises for everlasting life with them.
The Friends of Israel Today theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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