Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mark 2:8-12 (part 2)

8 And immediately Jesus recognizing in his spirit, that so they reasoned within themselves, he said to them, Why do you reason these things in your hearts?
9 What is easier to say to the paralytic? [3have been forgiven 4you 1The 2sins]; or to say, Arise, and lift your litter, and walk!
10 But that you should know that [5authority 4has 1the 2son 3of man] to forgive [2upon 3the 4earth 1sins], he says to the paralytic,
11 To you I say, Arise, and lift your litter, and go unto your house!
12 And he arose immediately, and having lifted the litter, he went forth before all; so that all were amazed, and glorified God, saying that, At no time we beheld thus.
(Mark 2:8-12 ABP)

8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts?
9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’?
10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—
11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”
12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

(Mark 2:8-12 ESV)
I left the last post saying that I'd look further into what Jesus means when He refers to Himself as, Son of Man. 

Before I start, I'd like to make mention of just how blessed we are in this day, and in this country, to have the resources available to us for study.  The study bibles and electronic resources that I most use when preparing for these blog posts have by and large been obtained at little to no cost to me.  The resources available on the internet are also such a gift; to be able to search, read, and cite gifted teachers of God's Word on just about every verse and topic imaginable... it truly is something that we need to take notice of and give thanks for to God!

Now, I could spend the next month posting each day and probably not exhaust the material on "The Son of Man" and all of the connotations therein.  So, I'm going to put it simply, for the purposes of this passage and for this blog.

I find that there are two camps, or rather, possible explanations.  One camp says that "Son of Man" is clearly a reference to Messianic claims.  The other camp says it's a designation of humility, referring to His humanity.  

Somewhere in my study, I just opened a digital bible and queried the phrase "son of man".  It shows up in a handful of places in the Psalms, then in Jeremiah, a couple in Isaiah, and twice in Daniel.  By far, in the Old Testament, the greatest number of references are in Ezekiel.  It's in there 93 times.  And each time... it means "man", specifically, the prophet, Ezekiel.  In those two references in Daniel, it's speaking in an "end times" context of the Messiah.  There it is.  Undeniably and overwhelmingly, scripture gives us the picture that this title is of a man; admittedly, a man used of God, a man subject to and servant to the Almighty, yet nonetheless, a man.

Which leaves us to ask, then why does Jesus refer to Himself as such more than 80 times in the New Testament?  Good question.  It does seem to suggest many meanings... there are clear eschatological allusions - i.e. His return to Earth on the clouds, accompanied by His angels. 
Matthew 26:64 - Jesus said to him, "You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven."  
Matthew 25:31 - "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne."
Also, Jesus uses it the same way that we read in the Old Testament, suggesting the most humble conditions in which He lived, and the lifestyle by which He called His disciples to live.
Matthew 8:20 - And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."  
Mark 10:45 - For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Now, this is the easy, simplistic explanation.  Like I said previously, there is so much that we have not covered on this subject.  I know that many scholars and theologians have tackled this and written books on it.  However, I believe this distills it down to the bare essentials.  Since you're reading this, and have made it down this far, I'd encourage you to look up each reference and study the context and meaning that you can deduce from Jesus' usage at that moment.