Who is the Son of Man?


Who is Jesus referring to when He talks about the Son of Man:
Mark 8:38
“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels."
He says that if anyone is ashamed of me, then the Son of Man will be ashamed of them.
If Jesus is referring to Himself,why doesn’t He just say something like: “I will be ashamed of them.”


Son of Man was a prophecy fulfilled, among other things. In order to be recognized as the Messiah, Jesus had not only to fulfill prophecy, but also to point that fulfillment out.


But in Mark, the Son of Man is a person who will be ashamed of some people.


Our Lord is talking about his two comings.

In His first coming, as Jesus of Nazareth, He preached the Gospel. Some accepted it, while others rejected it or considered it false, or rejected Jesus at the Messiah (“were ashamed of” Him or His words.)

In His second, as judge of the living and the dead (as po18guy rightly said, “Son of Man” is a messianic title; here and in other passages, Jesus uses it to allude to his second coming), He will pass sentence on those who rejected Him or the Gospel, and condemn them (“will be ashamed of” those persons).


Suppose that I were to say that if you are ashamed of me, then the Son of Harold will be ashamed of you. Would you think that I was the same person as the Son of Harold? No, you would think that the Son of Harold was someone else.


Mk 8:38
*Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”l
Lk 9:26
*Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.p

Mt 10:32-33
** Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.s
Lk 12:8-9
*I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.e

I believe, in Mark chapter 8 the mystery is just beginning to be revealed to the apostles (and the reader). Therefore, Jesus (and the author) refers to himself in more ambiguous terms. In Mt 10 the author is revealing more about Jesus’ true nature. The same pattern is found in Luke.

Notation for Mk 8:31
** [8:31] Son of Man: an enigmatic title. It is used in Dn 7:13–14 as a symbol of “the saints of the Most High,” the faithful Israelites who receive the everlasting kingdom from the Ancient One (God). They are represented by a human figure that contrasts with the various beasts who represent the previous kingdoms of the earth. In the Jewish apocryphal books of 1 Enoch and 4 Ezra the “Son of Man” is not, as in Daniel, a group, but a unique figure of extraordinary spiritual endowments, who will be revealed as the one through whom the everlasting kingdom decreed by God will be established. It is possible though doubtful that this individualization of the Son of Man figure had been made in Jesus’ time, and therefore his use of the title in that sense is questionable.** Of itself, this expression means simply a human being,** or, indefinitely, someone, and there are evidences of this use in pre-Christian times. Its use in the New Testament is probably due to Jesus’ speaking of himself in that way, “a human being,” and the later church’s taking this in the sense of the Jewish apocrypha and applying it to him with that meaning. Rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes: the supreme council called the Sanhedrin was made up of seventy-one members of these three groups and presided over by the high priest. It exercised authority over the Jews in religious matters. See note on Mt 8:20.*


The Son of Man is a Messianic title and goes to the heart of Jesus Jewishness.


If you had a tendency to refer to yourself (or your title of The Son of Harold) in third person regularly, then I would immediately know you were talking about yourself. This is something that seems foreign to us today because of how language is structured, but during Biblical times it really wouldn’t have been that confusing.

The Son of Man was a messianic title used frequently in the OT. Since Jesus was proclaiming himself to be the Messiah, the correlation would have been self evident.


Well, if “one like the Son of Harold” was used as a Messianic title in the book of Howard, Ch. 7, then perhaps. :slight_smile:

Seriously, though, have a look at the book of the Prophet Daniel, ch. 7, and its reference to “one like a Son of Man”. Then note the passages in the eschatological discourses where Jesus alludes to exactly that passage. That makes it clear that in this context, He is referring to His coming again “in glory, to judge the living and the dead” (Nicene Creed). When He comes again, it will not be as he did the first time (born of the Virgin Mary), but “with the angels”, to “separate the sheep from the goats”. The seeming disconnect is meant to address the difference between the two comings of Christ: first, as Saviour and Redeemer, and second, as Just Judge.


Jesus is the Son of man!


Ah, but look again at chapter 8. In fact, look at the whole gospel. You want me to quote every passage in Mark that has ‘Son of Man’ on it?

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.
And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.
And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But 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, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”
And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.
And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?”
And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.

And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”
And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”
And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly.
And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.
And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.
And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.
And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean.
And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?”
And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.



And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”
And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
And they said to him, “We are able.”
And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.”

And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.

And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him.
And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.
And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.”

And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”
But he remained silent and made no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.

When the term ‘Son of Man’ appears in Mark it is clearly connected to Jesus. Who else in that gospel forgives sins, does things on a Sabbath, is betrayed, killed and comes back to life after three days?


^ Awesome stuff as usual, Patrick. CAF should hire you as their in-house Scriptural scholar. :thumbsup:


Jesus is using a rabbinical teaching technique. He is using the title “Son of Man” to refer to the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures, specifically the book of the Prophet Ezekiel.

*"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. (Ezekiel 3:17)

**"Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, **(Ezekiel 6:2)

"Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, prophesy and say to those who prophesy out of their own minds: `Hear the word of the LORD!’ (Ezekiel 13:2)

"Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations, (Ezekiel 16:2)

Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Then let them know the abominations of their fathers,(Ezekiel 20:4)

"As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, `Come, and hear what the word is that comes forth from the LORD.’ (Ezekiel 33:30)

**"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ho, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? *(Ezekiel 34:2)

God referred to the Prophet Ezekiel as “son of man” 79 times. Ezekiel had harsh words for the head priests and religious leadership in his day.

In referring to himself as “Son of Man”, Jesus was establishing himself as a prophet along the lines of Ezekiel. This title would have been highly offensive to the chief priests, scribes and religious leaders in Jesus’ time. Reminding them of the Prophet Ezekiel, it would have been a warning to repent.



Hmm, I would have picked the Daniel passage as the source of “Son of Man,” but the Ezekiel references are also interesting.

In both cases, the phrase “son of man” is just a fancy way of saying “human being,” but because Daniel saw a vision of someone who looked human (“one like a son of man”) being given glory and power by God, "“Son of Man” became a title of the coming Messiah. As Patrick showed, Jesus really is applying the title to Himself, even though the construction looks strange.



Daniel 7:13-14 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Son of Man Is Given Dominion

“I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.

And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom is one
that shall not be destroyed.


In addition to the excellent presentation of information, and if it hasn’t already been said, the Son of Man, as explained is Jesus, Jesus had two natures human and divine, He was stressing the fact that He was truly human, born to a human, Mary, and at the same time He is God, thus God-man When He performed miracles, some knew that only God could do this, but Jesus did not in a sense honor Himself, but through the mouth of others. He always conveyed the truth, and it was important, that He was human, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He established communication between mankind and God, as God-man, and became Highpriest for mankind He left His physical presence in the Eucharist, in the form of Bread and wine. It is crucial to the Faith to know that God was human. This way we can share in His divine merits. He also hooked Satan and arrested his powers over sinful men by assuming human nature, Satan couldn’t conceive God humbling Himself and becoming a lower creature like man, nothing God creates is low, especially those who are part spirits and flesh, a spirit made to the image of God which sanctifies the body it is united to, a body that will be glorified, spiritualized in Heaven. And to crown Jesus achievement, God made a human named Mary, the Queen of Angels and Men.


The references to “Son of Man” in Ezekiel are references to a prophet who declares Israel’s sin to their face and communicates God’s judgement. All the references in Ezekiel are less about salvation and messiah than they are about condemnation and judgement.

This is exactly what happened in the Babylonian exile and exactly what Jesus did - removed the temple authorities from the “Chair of Moses” and established the “Chair of Peter.” This is how the temple authorities would have understood the title Son of Man based on Ezekiel, as a thread to take away their authority.

The authors of the Gospels are portraying Jesus as a new Ezekiel announcing the imminent exile and death of the temple authorities.



Mark also wanted to prove Jesus as the Son of Man in Daniel. I think the religious
leaders would have made that comparison.


Once again in answering the question posed we are faced with the Jewishness of Jesus which Paul not James or Peter abandoned.

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