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Luke 9: 43-45 – Week 25 Ordinary Time, Saturday (King James Audio Bible KJV, Spoken Word)

43 ¶ And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,
44 Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.
45 But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.

The people are astonished by Jesus, in whom they see the mighty power of God. Straight away, though, Jesus turns to his disciples to tell them of the truth of his Messianic mission. In veiled terms, Jesus announces his passion and death: the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. There is extreme contrast between the people’s, and the disciples’, understanding of how the Messiah shall be, and the reality of Christ’s true mission on Earth, to suffer, to be crucified, and so to ransom mankind, redeeming us from death and sin. There is secret, hidden truth, which only gradually becomes manifest through the course of the Gospels.

Jesus representation of himself as the Son of man provides an especially human understanding of God and of the Incarnation. It is an Old Testament term. In Ezekiel, it is used in such a way to indicate the very human condition of the prophet, in marked contrast to the Lord addressing him. In Daniel, the vision of the Kingdom of God reveals the Kingdom as having the appearance of a human, the Son of Man. It is to be, then, a Kingdom uniquely oriented to the human, as opposed to those regimes which have dehumanized. As God calls us and as we respond, as Jesus reveals the Father, so we become more human.

Concluding Prayer | Love Revealed By Jesus Christ

Let the splendour of the resurrection
light up our hearts and minds, Lord,
scattering the shadows of death,
and bringing us to the radiance of eternity.
We make our prayer through our Lord.

King James Audio Bible KJV | King James Version Bible | Endnotes

The Son Of Man In The Old Testament

The Gospel passage is one of many instances in the New Testament where Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man. The concept of the Son of Man has its roots in the Old Testament.

An early reference to the Son of Man in the Old Testament is in the book of Daniel. In chapter 7, Daniel has a vision of four beasts that represent different kingdoms, and then he sees the Ancient of Days seated on a throne. ‘I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.’ (Daniel 7:13-14) This Son of Man is clearly a divine figure, given power and dominion by the Ancient of Days.

Psalm 8 refers to the Son of Man. This psalm is a hymn of praise to God for his greatness and his creation of humanity. ‘What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.’ (Psalm 8:4-5) Here, the phrase ‘son of man’ refers to humanity as a whole, and the psalmist marvels at the fact that God cares for us despite our insignificance in the grand scheme of things.

Ezekiel is an Old Testament book referring to the Son of Man. In chapter 2, Ezekiel is called to be a prophet to the Israelites, and Ezekiel has a vision of God’s throne room. ‘And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.’ (Ezekiel 2:1-2. Throughout the book of Ezekiel, God addresses Ezekiel as ‘son of man’ over 90 times, emphasizing Ezekiel’s humanity and his role as a prophet.

Numbers refers to the Son of Man. The pagan prophet Balaam is hired by Balak, the king of Moab, to curse the Israelites. However, each time Balaam tries to curse them, God intervenes and turns his curse into a blessing. In one of these instances, Balaam says: ‘I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.’ (Numbers 24:17) This prophecy of a ‘star out of Jacob’ and a ‘sceptre’ rising out of Israel is believed by some to be a reference to the Son of Man. The star could represent the divine nature of the Son of Man, while the sceptre represents his rule and dominion over Israel.

Further uses of the phrase ‘Son of Man’ include in the Old Testament:

  1. Daniel 7:13-14: ‘I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.’ This passage is often seen as a prophecy of the coming of Christ, who will receive a kingdom that will never be destroyed.
  2. Psalm 8:4-6: ‘What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.’ This passage has been interpreted in various ways, but some see it as a foreshadowing of the Son of Man’s ultimate authority over all things.
  3. Isaiah 53:3-4: ‘He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.’ While this passage does not use the term ‘Son of Man’, it is often seen as a prophecy of the suffering servant who will bear the sins of humanity. This figure is often identified with the Son of Man.
  4. Ezekiel 1:26-28: ‘And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.’ This passage describes a vision of God in the form of a man, with a throne and radiance like fire. Some see this figure as a precursor to the Son of Man.
  5. Numbers 23:19: ‘God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?’ While this passage does not explicitly refer to the Son of Man, the phrase ‘son of man’ is used in reference to human beings in general. The contrast between God and humans underscores the divine nature of the Son of Man.
  6. Zechariah 6:12-13: ‘And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.’ This passage refers to a figure called ‘The Branch’ who will build the temple of the Lord, rule on his throne, and be both a king and a priest. Some see this figure as a precursor to the Son of Man, who will rule over all creation.

The Son Of Man In Revelation / Apocalypse

In fact, the phrase ‘Son of Man’ appears in Revelation 1:13, where it is used to describe the figure who appears to John in a vision:

‘And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.’

This figure is identified as Jesus Christ, who speaks to John and reveals the visions that follow. Throughout the book of Revelation, the Son of Man is portrayed as a powerful and majestic figure, with authority over all creation.

In Revelation 14:14-16, the Son of Man is described as the one who comes to harvest the earth:

‘And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.’

This passage portrays the Son of Man as a judge who separates the righteous from the unrighteous. He is also depicted as a conqueror who rides a white horse and defeats the armies of evil in Revelation 19:11-16:

‘And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.’