While on earth, Christ identified with us so greatly that He referred to Himself as the Son of man.
In, or about, 1978 a TV mini-series was shown on American TV called “Jesus of Nazareth”. Being moderately interested in biblical themed subjects at the time, I watched. It made a deep impression on me on many levels, but none so much as witnessing Jesus refer to Himself repeatedly as “the Son of man”. That self-referral bore into me each time he said it. Why? I couldn’t explain it at the time, I didn’t have the words. But I buried it in my heart and turned it over in my mind many times from then forward. I didn’t know what was in the bible then, and I had never heard the Son of God referred to as the “Son of man” ever before. I accepted He was the Son of God by faith, but didn’t know what my faith rested on. I didn’t even fully know what “Son of God” meant. So I investigated the gospels for myself, and sure enough there it was printed in the bible – Jesus referring to Himself as the “Son of man” many times – over and over. He refers to Himself by this term over 30 times in Matt., Mark 15 times, Luke 25 times and John 12 times. But what does this mean? It sounded so personal to me.
Was He speaking to me personally? Yes! But not to me only. To all who bend their knee before Him and confess Him as LORD of Lords and King of kings.
I now understand the theological multi-level meaning in calling Himself the Son of man. And wrapped in the center of that meaning is a very personal application which should be gleaned. In a very real sense He gave expression that He cares about our, mine and your, relationship with Him as He cares about His relationship with God the Father, and God’s for Him and us, you and me.
And it gave expression to His sense of connection with all mankind in sympathy, fortunes and destiny. He felt Himself to be identified with us as our elder brother, our fellow-sufferer, our representative and champion; and, in some respects, the deepest word He ever spoke was,
“For the Son of man also came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 parallel).
When we suffer in life’s many experiences we have a God Who can say, “I know exactly how you feel, because I experienced it too.” When we experience happiness or fear, joy or sorrow He experiences it with us. We can be assured of it. He declared Himself the Son of man, being the Son of God.
How could anybody love a God who comes to his own creation, taking on the form of that creature, to experience what that creature experiences, first-hand, good and bad, for the sake of loving same creature? The question is how could that creature NOT love such a God?