This past weekend, I preached a message on Jesus as the Son of Man at Eastbrook Church. This was part of our series, “Name Above All Names,” on the titles of Christ. Once again, I want to recommend that you view this roughly video from The Bible Project which condenses a tremendous amount of theology into a five minute video summarizing the significance of the “Son of Man” title.
We continued our series on the titles of Jesus, “Name Above All Names,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church by exploring Jesus as the Son of Man. While it is one of the most misunderstood and forgotten titles of Jesus, it has a special place in the way that Jesus understood Himself. In fact, “Son of Man” is the one title that Jesus used more often than any other name when He talked about Himself.
Extending into the prophetic and apocalyptic traditions of the Hebrew people, join me this week in exploring Jesus as the Son of Man.
As part of my message this past weekend on Daniel 12, “Faith at the End of All Things,” I shared a list of parallels about how Jesus is not only Savior and Forgiver, but also takes all the history of Israel into Himself and becomes the new Israel as the Messiah. A number of people asked if I would share that list, and so I’m doing that here.
A Messiah will come and bring hope and life for humanity. He will be like the Son of Man figure in Daniel 7, worthy of worship and like God. But he will also take all the history of Israel into himself and bring its fulfillment through His life death and resurrection. And so:
- Jesus’ humble birth at the edges of civilization parallels Israel’s humble beginnings as a nomadic tribe of Abraham.
- Jesus’ baptism parallels Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea after the Exodus
- Jesus’ testing in the desert for 40 days parallels Israel’s wandering in the wilderness for 40 years
- Jesus’ teaching and miracles as God’s tabernacle in flesh parallels the building of the tabernacle and temple where heaven touched earth in God’s presence
- Jesus’ death on the Cross parallels the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and the overrunning of God’s people
- Jesus’ burial in the tomb parallels the exile of God’s people from the Promised Land
- Jesus’ resurrection in the tomb parallels the double exodus of liberation from slavery in Egypt and liberation from exile in Babylon
- And Jesus ascension to the Father’s right hand parallels the future resurrection that awaits humanity at the end of our lives and the cataclysmic end of human history at Christ’s return
This is why, with Peter, we can celebrate Jesus as not only our Forgiver and Savior, but the resurrected bringer of hope with God for humanity.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
This past weekend at Eastbrook Church, I continued our series on the book of Daniel by turning our attention to chapter 7, which begins the markedly different second half of the book. Chapters 1-6 are court narratives, while chapters 7-12 are apocalyptic visions. This first vision serves as a sort of parallel to Daniel 2 and overview of where the rest of the book is going.
We celebrate Ascension Day this week, so I want to take this opportunity give attention to one of the most-neglected aspects of the life and ministry of Jesus. Forty days after His resurrection, after appearing many times to the disciples, Jesus ascended into heaven with the Father again (Luke 24:49-51; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:3-10). The ascension of Jesus is significant for many reasons, so over the next three days I would like to draw attention to three of these:
- after His ascension Jesus is enthroned with the Father
- after His ascension Jesus intercedes for us
- after His ascension Jesus will return
The Apostles Creed makes important reference to the ascension of Jesus with these words: “[He] ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” Jesus is enthroned as King in His ascension. When Jesus ascends from earth, the disciples witness of Jesus taken into the heavenly realm where God dwells: “he left them and was taken up into heaven” (Luke 24:51). Stephen’s vision of the heavenly realm before his martyrdom expands this even further: “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56).
With these two visions of Jesus’ ascension and the reality on the other side of it, we find in Jesus’ ascension the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy:
In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)
Jesus often referenced this passage in relation to Himself. With the ascension we see that Jesus not only enters heaven, the place where God lives and operates, but receives His appropriate enthronement at the right hand of God in an unshakable kingdom.
This is echoed in further New Testament pictures of the heavenly scenes of worship:
- “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21).
- “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13).
The ascension of Jesus reminds us not only that God’s kingdom been inaugurated with the incarnation of Jesus, but that His throne is established at the Father’s right hand until He returns at the consummation of his kingdom at the new heaven and new earth. We know even now that Jesus reigns as King, no matter what happens around us.