Son of Man
by Nick Wonder
You brought a vine out of Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it…
have regard for this vine,
the stock that your right hand planted,
and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.
They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down;
may they perish at the rebuke of your face!
But let your hand be on the man of your right hand,
the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!
Psalm 80:8, 14-17
13 “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. 14 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.
Jesus is the Son of Man, born of a woman and true man. Jesus repeatedly claimed this title that previously was employed by Ezekiel and also appeared in Psalm 80 (as Hebrew ben-adam) and the book of Daniel (Aramaic bar enosh). Ron Rhodes and others point out that humanity seems an essential quality for our kinsman redeemer to possess. Moreover, a redeemer who has been “tempted in every way” (yet did not sin; Hebrews 4:15) and was subject to the same physical frailty I face is an approachable figure and an encouragement in struggle. His resurrection to a glorified body provides the promise that his followers will one day be raised as well. And a Biblical record of the Father’s relation with His human, and yet fully divine, Son perhaps makes possible better comprehension of that Father, transcendant of time and space. “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:18). Yet Jesus is not innocuous for evildoers; his status as the Son of Man earns him the authority to judge (John 5:27). This is one example of the general (though far from exclusive) tendency of Jesus to use “Son of Man” in eschatological contexts, echoing Daniel’s vision above. His use of this designation also suggests, when cross-referenced with Psalm 80, the implication that Jesus is the perfect Israel—the true Vine and the Son called out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1)—who bids us to enter his rest.