The Glory of the Son of Man ~ 20220410 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
04/10_Matthew/John; The Glory of the Son of Man Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20220410_suffering-son-of-man.mp3
Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Passion week; Jesus’ resolute journey to the cross. After his arrest under cover of night, Jesus was dragged before the high priest. Because he had done nothing wrong, the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false witnesses against him to have him put to death, but none of their testimonies agreed. Caiaphas finally became frustrated;
Jesus was quoting Daniel 7 and everyone knew it. We looked at Daniel 7 last week. Here is the passage; it is worth quoting in full.
YHWH God, the Ancient of Days, is seated on his flaming chariot throne in judgment, executing justice on the nations; and YHWH God the cloud rider, in human form, comes into the presence of the Ancient of Days and is given eternal dominion and glory and a kingdom and the nations are to worship him. When Jesus claims to be the Son of Man, he is saying much more than that he is human. He is saying that he is YHWH God the cloud rider in human form. Jesus was making direct reference to Daniel 7, and they got the message. They understood what he was claiming, they called it blasphemy, and it was this statement that the religious experts used as legal ground for their demand that Jesus must die.
The Glorious Divine Son of Man
Last time we looked at some of Jesus’ claims to be the Son of Man. He said things like:
The Son of Man has authority to forgive sins, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath, the Son of man will sit on his glorious throne, the Son of Man will judge the nations.
The Son of Man is coming back, as the angels told his disciples after his ascension into heaven ‘and a cloud took him out of their sight’; “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts1:9-11). All the nations will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Only Half the Story
But that is only half the story. That is only half of what Jesus said about himself as the Son of Man. Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man more than any other name or title, about 82 times in the gospels, and about half of those point to his authority, his divine status, his equality with his Father, his glorious return, his glorious throne and his right to judge the nations.
But that is only half the story. Today I want to look at the other half of what Jesus said about himself as the divine Son of Man.
The Suffering Son of Man
To one would-be follower, Jesus said:
How can this be? The divine Son of Man rides on the clouds and has his own glorious throne, but he has nowhere to lay his head? The Son of Man homeless?
In Matthew chapter 12, after declaring himself to be lord of the Sabbath, after healing a man with a withered hand in their synagogue on the Sabbath, after healing a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute, the scribes and the Pharisees requested to see a sign.
What kind of a sign is that? How can Jesus compare himself with the disobedient prophet on the run from God? What does it mean to be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth? Is the divine cloud riding Son of Man going to spend time in hell?
In Matthew 16, in response to Jesus’ question ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ Peter confessed that Jesus is ‘The Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus’ response? After affirming that Peter was divinely inspired with the correct answer,
Peter and the disciples were beginning to correctly understand that Jesus’ claim to be the Son of Man was a claim to be the Christ, the promised Messiah, the Divine Son of the living God. But this is the very time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must suffer and be killed, and be raised from the dead. They were beginning to understand who he was, but this was only half the story. They could not connect that this all-glorious Divine Son of Man figure could possibly suffer. It is at this point that Peter took Jesus aside to rebuke him ‘This shall never happen to you.’ Jesus then told his disciples that anyone who would follow him must ‘deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’. He declared that ‘whoever loses his life for my sake will find it’, and he connects this with the glorious coming of the Son of Man to repay each person for what he has done. Suffering first, then glory.
In Matthew 17, Peter, James and John saw Jesus transfigured on the mountain, and heard the voice speaking from the bright cloud, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
Mark records the response of the disciples:
How can the Son of Man rise from the dead? Isn’t the Son of Man according to Daniel 7 given an eternal kingdom which shall not pass away? What can this ‘rising from the dead’ mean? Jesus continued:
Jesus is connecting Elijah with John who prepared the way for the coming of YHWH. Jesus’ cousin John had been imprisoned for speaking truth, and then beheaded because of a foolish oath given in response to a seductive dance routine. Just as John was not recognized for who he was, and was executed, ‘So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.’
Jesus gets even more explicit in verse 22:
The Son of Man will be betrayed. YHWH the cloud rider will be given into the power of men. They will kill him, and he will be raised.
In Matthew 20, they are on the way up to Jerusalem.
Jesus is preparing his disciples for what is about to happen. You can’t get much more specific than this; betrayed into the hands of the Jewish religious leaders, condemned to death by them, then delivered over to the Roman authorities, who will mock him, spit on him, flog him, and crucify him, and then he will be raised on the third day.
They didn’t get it. Look at the very next verse in Matthew 20:
They understood, at least to some extent, that this was the promised one who would receive the eternal kingdom from the Ancient of Days, and they were pursuing positions of prominence in the coming kingdom. Jesus’ statement that he was about to be betrayed, condemned, mocked, flogged and crucified seems to have flown right over their heads.
The Cup of Suffering
Both Isaiah and Jeremiah talk about the cup of the wine of the wrath of God Almighty against the sins of the nations. This is the background to the image when in the garden Jesus asked
Revelation uses this cup of wrath imagery as well (14:10; 16:19). They apparently missed this too.
James was the first Apostle martyred. Tradition has it John was boiled in oil but didn’t die, so he was exiled to a small island.
To Give His Life as a Ransom
Here Jesus lays out the purpose of his mission. The coming of the Son of Man is not a receiving mission, but a giving mission; it is not a being served and worshiped mission, but a humbling himself to serve others mission; it is not a receiving the eternal kingdom mission but a laying down his own life mission. He did not come to pour out his just wrath in judgment, but to receive that wrath as a substitute, as a ransom for many. Jesus is the fully divine YHWH God come in the form of a man, who deserves the worship of all nations, who will be given an eternal kingdom, but not now, not yet, not this time. He will come again, but this time he came to suffer, he came to serve, to give his life as a ransom for many.
The Glory of a Seed
These two seemingly contrary veins, the suffering Son of Man, and the glorious Son of Man come together in John’s gospel. In John 12, on Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem and was hailed as the King of Israel, the one who comes in the Name of YWHW. Jesus said
Here it is! Finally his hour has come! Even the Greeks are seeking Jesus, and now, at last, it is time for the Son of Man to be glorified.
What kind of glory is Jesus seeking? The glory of a grain of wheat. A seed preserved up on the shelf is not very glorious. But when that grain experiences death, is pushed down into the earth, something powerful and amazing happens. The grain on the shelf seems dry and lifeless, but after it is buried, life bursts forth! Something glorious happens. Fruitfulness happens. Multiplication happens. This is the kind of glory Jesus is pursuing, the glory of death and resurrection.
Jesus understood full well what this meant. That is why his apprehension in the garden caused him to sweat as it were great drops of blood.
This is the glory Jesus is pursuing, not the glory that Satan offered him if he would only worship him; no, Jesus is pursuing the glory of the seed. The glory of life out of death.
Now is the judgment of this world? Now the evil ruler of this world will be overthrown? Finally, the Son of Man will be exalted, glorified, conquer his enemies, and will bring justice to this broken and rebellious world. How?
How? How is Jesus exalted, lifted up? On the cross. How did Jesus judge the world and bring justice? By absorbing God’s just wrath toward my sin in his own body on the tree. How did he overthrow the evil one? By being crushed. By dying. By giving his life as a ransom for many. By paying my price in full.
After Judas left the last supper to betray him:
Glory comes not merely after suffering, but glory comes through suffering. Lift up your eyes to see the glory of the Son of Man hanging on a cross, bearing my sin and yours, plundering the enemy, setting the captives free.
2022.04.10 Sermon Notes
Matthew/John – The Glory of the Son of Man
Jesus’ unmistakable claim to be YHWH God
Matthew 26:62-68; Daniel 7:9-14
The Sovereign Son of Man coming on the clouds
Matthew 9:6; 12:6-8; 16:27; 25:31-32; 24:27,30; Acts 1:9-11
The suffering Son of Man lifted up
Matthew 8:20; 12:39-40; 16:20-21; 17:9, 12, 22-23; 20:17-19
The cup of suffering
Matthew 20:20-23; Isaiah 51:17, 22; Jeremiah 25:15;
Revelation 14:10; 16:19
He came to give his life as a ransom
The glory of the seed
John 12:23-24, 27-33; 13:31-32
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org