Son of Man as Sovereign
If the Son of Man existed only as servant and sacrifice, Christianity is a false hope.
A good man died a martyr’s death. What a pity.
Beyond that, it means nothing.
There has to be more.
“But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” (Parallel verses Matt. 9:6, Luke 5:24)
Why does the Son of Man have authority to forgive sins?
Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” (Parallel verses Mark 14:62 and Luke 22:69, repeated in Acts 7:56)
Who does this man think he is? It is clear from these scriptures that Jesus acknowledged his identity to the public. In fact, it was these statements which drew the accusations from the Pharisees, leading to his crucifixion.
This past week, Passion Week, I read my son the stories of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Even at six years old, he has heard the stories so often that he was untouched at their power. I dwelt on the resurrection story for a long time, hoping for a revelation. Jesus didn’t simply experience death; he defeated it. And, he did it as God in the flesh, acting fully as man, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
To understand the mystery of God is difficult for a six year old. It is difficult for this 32 year old.
The last glimpse of the Son of Man is in John the Revelator’s vision:
And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest.
Then I saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone like the Son of Man. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
Here we see the ascended, glorified Jesus in fullness of authority. He is dressed in the symbols of sovereignty, but the same vision reveals that his authority comes from his worthiness. Yes, Jesus is the Son of, the Image of, God. He is fully divine. Yet he lived fully as man, operating under the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, I return to my initial inquiry: What does this mean for us, as sons of men?
But one has testified somewhere, saying, “WHAT IS MAN, THAT YOU REMEMBER HIM? OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HIM? “YOU HAVE MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; YOU HAVE CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAVE APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET ” For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him (reference to Psalm 8:4-6).
We were given authority over the earth in the Garden of Eden. We squandered it like a birthright for a bowl of soup. Jesus, our second Adam, bought it back with his life. Everything is under his authority, but we are “in Christ,” and called to even greater works than he did.
In his name, we have power – to heal the sick and raise the dead.
In his name, we have authority – to cast out demons and tell the accuser where to go.
But being in Christ, who is sovereign, means more than commanding God’s Kingdom come and will be done. It means we can rest in faith of His ultimate sovereignty.
I know many days I do not feel like the enemy is under my feet. Many days I feel like he is in my ear, in my head, out my mouth. I do not feel like one in authority; often like one underfoot.
Jesus’ authority rested on his faith. He did not act out of his divinity. He did not rely on the feelings of the flesh or the soul. He lived in complete assurance of his identity as the Son of God, with all the benefits of that status.
So for me, and you, this realization means we do not need to chase our tails trying to attain a standard of holiness. It means we do not need to rely on the feelings of the flesh or the soul. We can, like Jesus, put our faith in the assurance that, because he is the Son of God and Son of Man, we can be called sons of God. We can reap the benefits. We can walk in faith that our sovereign Father has extended His hand over us and our lives so that we may kathidzo with Him in heavenly places.
It means we stir up our faith, tell our souls to rise up and stand. It means we remember who we are and whose we are, and we remind those invisible naysayers, too.