To understand the real Jesus, it is important to understand that there are multiple ways of looking at him. One of those is his self-description, “The Son of Man.” The term “Son of Man” is used over 80 times in the gospels. It is only by Jesus and only in reference to himself. Understanding this term helps us to understand that Jesus was totally human, just like you and I are.
In Philippians 2:6–8, the Apostle Paul describes this when he says, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (ESV) Jesus was so completely human that the Apostle John was still marveling about it years after his death when he said of Jesus: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life” (1 John 1:1 ESV).
Jesus’ true humanity showed through in many ways. Like us, he faced hunger, became tired, had feelings of frustration with those around him, was brought to tears and reacted much as we would when faced with knowing he was going to be nailed to a cross in a few hours: he sweat. The scriptures describe him having compassion, pity, anger, indignation, grief, joy and gladness – all feelings each human being has dealt with.
Why did Jesus have to have all these feelings? The Hebrew writer explains, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 ESV).
In order for Jesus to be the Savior of the world, he who was God (John 1:1) had to become flesh and live among us (John 1:14). He was God, but he had to experience what we do so, “a body have you prepared for me” (Hebrews 10:5 ESV). He had to experience what we experience with one exception: He did it without sin! One side of Jesus is his humanity expressed in being “The Son of Man.”
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