Mark: According to
Death and Resurrection
(The Son of Man)
30 Then they departed from there and passed through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know it. 31 For he taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day,” 32 But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him.
We have talked of Jesus’ eventual death burial and resurrection in previous posts and it appears that Mark is trying to make a point that Jesus was continually attempting to give as much information to the disciples about His upcoming death. At least as much information as they could handle at one time. This appears to be the second of at least three specific occasions on which Jesus plainly told the disciples of his coming death. There were no doubt other times when Jesus gave them similar instruction as is implied by Matthew 16:21 and Matthew 20:17-19. This is why Jesus came to Galilee secretly with His disciples, because He earnestly wanted to teach them the reasoning for his coming death.
But there is a phrase within this passage I would like us to explore together. The phrase is, “the Son of Man.” Why does Jesus call himself the “Son of Man” when he is clearly divine? After all, at Jesus baptism and in our last post, God clearly called Jesus his beloved Son, so when and how does the phrase son of man come about?
Throughout most of the Old Testament we see the phrase, “son of man”, referring to the descendants of Adam and Eve. Psalms asks of God, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him” (Psalm 8:4)?
In Psalm 144:3 the Psalmist cries out. “Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?” In this text the phraseology is interesting in that in Hebrew it reads out ben-adam, (ben is the term for son, while adam representing mankind) emphasizing man’s earthly nature as formed from the ground (see Genesis 1:26; Genesis 2:7).
But as I look through the Bible I fail to see where Jesus is formed out of the dust of the earth, but according to Luke and Matthew, Jesus is born of Mary who was betrothed to Joseph, and that Mary was conceived of the Holy Spirit. So, Jesus was certainly divine, yet at the same time being conceived of the holy spirit and born of Mary, He is also human. Therefore Jesus is by birth, a son of Adam, one in everyway as all mankind yet also divine in nature, which we saw flash through on the mount of transfiguration.
Hold with me here, for this seems all very confusing, but I assure you there is a reason Jesus had to become one like you and I, become a son of all mankind.
In Numbers 21:4-9 is the incident in which the children of Israel spoke out against God and so God withdrew his protection from the Israelites. Verse 6 states that fiery serpents came among the people and many of the Israelite people died. Fiery being representative of the fact that these serpents were venomous, that once bitten death was certain.
Similar to the way sin is venomous and that all who are bitten by the bite of sin, must eventually die.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “we have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten when he looks at it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent he lived.
Now, I just have to ask, is there any great healing power in an inanimate bronze serpent that hangs suspended from a pole? Absolutely NO! But let’s look at what the serpent represents for a moment. What did the bronze serpent represent? Why of course, the serpents that bit the Israelite people causing them to die.
So, the fact has been established that the bronze serpent that hung upon the pole represented the serpents that bit the people causing them to die similar to the way sin causes all those bit by its venomous bite to die. Therefore, in order for the sinful human race or mankind to not die from the venomous bite of sin, one must be found in the likeness of the one that caused the problem in the first place and that one which is found must be sinless, yet still tempted in all ways as we are tempted.
This brings the natural question, who caused the sin problem in the first place? Our natural reaction would be Lucifer (Satan). But let’s stop and think about this. If Eve and then Adam had free choice, then they had the freedom to not fall to temptation. But they also had the choice to fall or fall to temptation, which unfortunately is what happened. Their free choice resulted in sin entering this planet through Adam. As the bronze serpent was lifted up on a pole in the likeness of the one (the serpents that bit the people) which caused the problem, then one must be born as a man in the likeness of sinful Adam who could live the life you and I all have to live. But this second Adam or likeness of mankind couldn’t fall to sin. Therefore, where Adam failed the Son of Man could not fail, for if he did, then the entire plan of salvation would fail. If then, one was born as the Son of Mankind and lived life as you and I yet did not fall to the venomous bite of sin, then He being one like us, if lifted up upon a pole and all those who looked upon Him, would be healed from the venomous bite of sin as those who looked upon the bronze serpent were healed of the venomous bite of the serpents, that infected the camp of the Israelites.
But it wasn’t just enough to look at the bronze serpent, one had to believe that by looking upon that bronze serpent that in and of itself had no healing properties, that they would be cured of the venomous bite of the serpent. To just look wasn’t enough, one must have faith to be healed.
It is the same with Jesus. There is no saving grace in a man hanging on the cross for literally a million-people died hanging on a cross. But the fact that Jesus came, as the Son of Mankind, living the life you and I live, yet never falling victim to the venomous bite of sin He can then become the second Adam. Then as a representative of all mankind, when hanging on the cross, all those that look upon him either in person, or figuratively through the pages of the Holy Scriptures can be cured of the venomous bite of that serpent of old, who infected all mankind when Adam chose to be bitten by the serpent, thus infecting all mankind with the venom of sin.
This is the reason Jesus is referred to as the Son of Man because he had to set His divinity aside taking upon himself all the characteristics of sinful mankind so that he could live a sinless life, that when we gaze upon Christ and His sacrifice upon the cross and by faith believe that through his death, the power of the venomous sting of sin is forever gone. As it was for the ancient Israelites who by faith looked upon the bronze serpent and were healed, it is only when we look upon Christ and his sacrifice with faith that he has forever healed us from the venomous problem of sin that we are then made into new creatures in Christ, if not in this lifetime, then when Christ returns in the clouds of Glory. But it all depends upon accepting God’s saving grace by faith that we are healed from the venom of sin.
This is what Jesus attempted to teach His disciples of Old and this is what He attempts to teach us in Scriptures which is a revelation of his character and His gift of salvation, which he achieved for us as He was lifted up upon that lonely hill just outside the city of Jerusalem. The place of the skull is the place where we come to look upon the representative of all mankind as he hangs on the cross. Then we, who by faith look upon His sacrifice, become cured of the venomous bite of sin.