Unraveling The Reasons Behind Why Is Jesus Called The Son Of Man

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Published by Kimberly Wall


Co-Founder, Disciple Group Leader, Author

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The phrase “son of man” appears 32 times in Matthew, 15 times in Mark, 26 times in Luke, and 12 times in John. In the first three Gospels, the expression is never attributed to angels, humans, or demons but always to Jesus Christ.

Stephen, as he was being stoned to death (Acts 7:56), uttered the only unambiguous allusion to Jesus using the phrase “son of man,” spoken by someone other than Jesus. What, then, did Jesus mean when He called Himself the Son of Man?

What Is The Meaning Of The Son Of Man?

In the Old Testament, “son of man” is often used interchangeably with “man,” since a son of man is, by definition, a man. It’s an idiom from the Semitic language [1] that means “human being.” This is supported by the overwhelming majority of the expression’s 107 occurrences.

As the verse from Numbers 23:19 (ESV) puts it, “God is not a man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.

In the same way, Job laments that a man would not dare plead his case with God “as a son of man does with his neighbor” (Job 16:21 ESV) because of his relative low standing before God and his desire to demonstrate his innocence in suffering.

Moreover, David makes use of this idiom in his famous meditations on creation: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon, and the stars, which you have set in place, what is a man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3–4 ESV).

The prophet Ezekiel also serves as the focal point for 93 of the term’s uses in the Old Testament. Literally, “son of man” means “human being.”

priest in green robes with gold chalice and communion

Why Is Jesus Called The Son Of Man?

In the New Testament, Jesus is called “Son of Man” 88 times. The term “Son of Man” may relate to the idea that Jesus exemplified the best of mankind, despite the fact that its precise meaning is not defined in the Bible.

Jesus, in his role as God, took on human form and dwelt among us. Thus, He accomplished the impossible by satisfying the requirements of the Law of Moses. By taking up this name, He shows solidarity with the people He came to save.

It Relates To His Earthly Existence

The title refers to Jesus’ earthly life. Mark 2:10 (ESV) records Jesus’s words to the paralytic: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” In Mark 2:28 (ESV), Jesus declared the Son of Man is also the Lord of the Sabbath.

The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head, as Jesus also declared in Matthew 8:20, although foxes have dens and birds of the air have nests.

Jesus explained His mission on earth: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10 ESV).

It Is Related To His Suffering

The term “Son of Man” is also associated with the pain Jesus endured on behalf of humanity. According to Mark 8:31 (ESV), “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.”

This Testifies To His Acclaim And Authority As Ruler

The term “Son of Man” refers to his status as a divine ruler over the human race. In fact, it is Jesus’ favorite self-designation. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory” (Matthew 25:31 ESV).

As Jesus said in Matthew 26:24, the events surrounding his death will play out exactly as predicted. However, “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.”

It Is A Messianic Title

The Messiah is a very exalted figure, according to the title “Son of Man.” The Son of Man, who is exalted in heaven, will inherit God’s kingdom, as foretold in the Book of Daniel.

“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” (Daniel 7:13–14 ESV).

During His Trial, Jesus Called Himself That Title

If you recall, this is the prophecy Jesus cited when He was put on trial and asked if He was the Messiah. He said, “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64 NIV).

The religious authorities were enraged by this declaration. They said He was blaspheming because He was claiming himself to be on the same level as God. They saw that Jesus referred to the Messianic claim when He made reference to Daniel’s prophecy.

What Does It Mean That Jesus Is The Son Of Man?

Jesus was a human being, a “son of man.” A virgin gave birth to Him. The Holy Spirit supernaturally conceived Him in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Thus, He is fully human. The Bible emphasizes His humanity throughout. So “son of man” has a double meaning: He is both a divine and human figure—two natures, one person.

As the Eternally Begotten One who proceeds from the Father forever, Jesus, Son of the living God, has always been the Second Person of the Trinity, with the divine nature fully within Him.

priest lying on floor during mass


Jesus alone referred to Himself as the Son of Man. He did this to show that He was fully human. The title alludes to the prophecy in the Book of Daniel that the Son of Man will one day rule over God’s everlasting kingdom. It is a title given to the Messiah.

Christ admitted throughout His trial that He was the promised Messiah, the Son of Man, who would usher in God’s enduring dominion. The title serves to highlight Jesus’ humanity more than anything and is an enduring reminder that God was one with us through Him.

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