Son of Man: Jesus’s favorite name

Pastor Jeff Struecker

We started talking about the name Jesus, and I told you it’s a word that means “God saves”. Today, we’ll take that concept a half step forward and discuss Jesus’s titles. But when I say Jesus’s title, you can’t separate that from Jesus’s name because who he is and what he does are those two things.

Last week in Luke, we heard that Mary and Joseph didn’t get a chance to choose Jesus’s name. It was chosen for them by God. Today, you’ll see Matthew’s version of that story, and Matthew uses a title instead of a name. This comes from Matthew chapter one, and I want you to memorize this verse. It’s not that long, and chances are you’ve heard this verse a time or two around the Christmas season. Here it is:

Memory Verse

If we go back and read Luke chapter one, the angel tells Mary to name him Jesus. In Matthew chapter one, they’re telling the crowds and everybody who meets this baby. Not only is his first name Jesus but the title that we’re going to use for him is Immanuel, and then Matthew does us a favor and tells us what this Hebrew word means. The word means God has decided to come down from heaven and dwell among us. That’s what the word Immanuel means, ‘God with us.’ 

  • Christ

  • Son of God

  • Son of Man

  • Lord

  • Immanuel

  • Firstborn

Did you know that there are many names and titles of Jesus in the Bible? Many titles that fit the name of Jesus, meaning who he is and what he does, are connected. Sometimes he’s called Jesus Christ, and sometimes he’s just called christ. Did you know that the word Christ means anointed? That word Christ literally means God’s anointed one. God’s special one. God’s anointed Son. 

The second bullet is the phrase Son of GodNow the Son of God is used in the old testament as well as in the new testament. It’s actually used a lot in the new testament, and even that very famous of all of the verses of the Bible, John Chapter 3: 16, says, God gave His only begotten Son. So Son of God shows up even in different languages, and it’s found all over the Bible. The phrase Son of God means that Jesus is the second part of the Trinity. 

The following bullet is the phrase Son of Man. It comes out of the old testament, in the books of Ezekiel and Daniel. This is Jesus’s favorite way of referring to himself. When Jesus chooses ways to refer to himself, he uses this more than any other. The Book of Daniel refers to a particular person with a specific and vital role in eternal history. The Son of man is the one who rules not just on earth like a king but rules heaven and earth for all of eternity. 

Next is the word, Lord. Lord is a word not of nobility but a word of respect. It’s what we would use to call a gentleman or to refer to somebody as your honor or your excellency in Jesus’s day. Lord would have been the same as saying yes, Lord, and yes, sir. 

The fifth item is the word, Immanuel. We’ve already heard from Matthew that God has chosen to dwell among people. And the last one is the word firstborn. The firstborn of all creation or first fruits is what Jesus is referred to. That’s a big deal because in the culture that Jesus grew up in. If a father had five sons, the firstborn son was the one that would inherit twice as much as everybody else and who would carry on the father’s tradition. When the high priest had a son, that first son would become the next high priest. He may have five more, but the first son would become the following high priest. 

Well God has a son. He has an only begotten son, and God’s only begotten Son means that he inherits everything the Father owns. And he represents the Father here on earth. 

So now I got a question for you. Let’s do a little math problem. The Son of God, meaning God the Son. God came down from heaven and became a Son and a human being for you. Son of God refers to himself as Son of man, meaning he is a servant of men. And when you put the fact that the Son of God was willing to become the Son of man, it says something about you personally. I have a question for you, and I want you to think deeply before you answer. 

A Challenge

He could be called the King of kings. He could be called Lord of lords. He could be called many other things and use those names to refer to himself, but he chooses to refer to himself most often as the Son of Man. And I think there’s a very important and powerful reason why that’s Jesus’s favorite title for himself.