In this week’s podcast, I mention that Jesus talks about how the Son of Man has authority over the Sabbath. I want to explain a little about the significance I see in this title.
In the beginning of Mark 2 (the same chapter in this week’s podcast), the paralytic is laid in front of Jesus.
After Jesus forgave the sins of the paralytic, Jesus saw in the hearts of the scribes who were watching him that they thought Jesus was blaspheming, that only God could forgive sin. Jesus, in his spirit, immediately had contact with the fact that they were going back and forth within themselves, so he asked them why they were struggling in their hearts about these things. Jesus then poses the question:
τί ἐστιν εὐκοπώτερον εἰπεῖν τῷ παραλυτικῷ Ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι ἢ εἰπεῖν καὶ ἆρον τὸν κράβαττόν σου καὶ περιπάτει ἱνα δὲ εἰδῆτε ὅτι ἐξουσίαν ἔχει ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (Which is less tiresome: to say to the paralytic you are forgiven your sins or to say Arise, take up your mat and walk, however that you might see before you that the Son of Man has authority).
Here, Jesus refers to Himself as the “Son of Man.” Later in the chapter, Jesus affirms that the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. If the Son of Man can forgive sin, and the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath, then as the God-Man, the Incarnate Word, Jesus possesses authority by virtue of being God, which extends to the Sabbath and the forgiveness of sins. The title “Son of Man” comes into the picture by virtue of his taking his humanity under the person of the Word; Jesus is fully man and is therefore a son of man, but he is the Son of Man, being the head, the new Adam, who is also God, and therefore receives this special title “Son of Man.”
Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man in other parts of Scripture too. This title is very powerful and deep, and it is worth meditating on in our prayer life.