It was one of Jesus' favorite ways to refer to Himself. He's quoted 85 times in the King James Version of the New Testament calling Himself the "Son of Man." Here are some of His human characteristics:
- Jew who grew up in Nazareth, learned carpentry from his earthly father, "grew in wisdom & stature, and in favor with God and man," (Luke 2:52) and began a ministry throughout Israel at age 30.
- The cousin of John the Baptist, who proclaimed the coming of the Messiah.
- Was baptized by John at the beginning of His ministry, at which point a voice from the heavens proclaimed, "Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well-pleased." (Luke 3:22, NAS)
- Was tempted by Satan in the wilderness for 40 days, at which time He fasted and prayed, and resisted temptation by quoting scripture.
- Was misunderstood by His family and those of His hometown.
- The half-brother of James, who authored the Book of James, and was a leader of the early church.
- After ministering, healing, and teaching for three years, was crucified outside Jerusalem during the feast of Passover by the Romans at the demand of Jewish religious leaders.
- Had human needs to eat, drink, and sleep.
- Showed human emotions of love, happiness, sadness, and anger… but not fear, hatred, or pride.
- Born in Bethlehem into a poor family where the mother, Mary, was a virgin. Both she and Joseph the "step-father" were of the line of David and the tribe of Judah, fulfilling prophecies from: Micah 5:2, Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14, Genesis 49:10, Psalms 132:11, Jeremiah 23:5, and Isaiah 11:10.
The Significance of Christ's Humanity
Living on earth for 33 years, Jesus experienced every temptation you and I face, which is why "the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation" (2 Peter 2:9). He also showed us how to model our behavior. 1 Peter 2:21 says, "Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps."
So, He knows what we go through. A god-savior could forgive sins, but would not be able to relate to the sinners. A man-savior would be able to relate to humanity, but would not have the authority or power to forgive sins or return from the dead. It was necessary that Jesus be both.
In doing so, he became "the New Adam."
"For as in Adam [the first man, through whom sin entered the world] all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit" (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45).
Who Killed Jesus?
With the release of the film The Passion of the Christ, this question again became something of an issue. Was Pilate responsible? Was it Rome? Was it the Sanhedrin, or the entire Hebrew Nation? Or did you and I kill Jesus?
Yes. And no. First, He's not dead. Upon His death He descended into Hell, where He took the keys and ministered to the dead. After three days, He came back to life, and not as a spirit, but with flesh and bones. When, after 40 days, He left His followers again, He ascended into Heaven, where He sits at the right hand of the Father until the time comes when He will return.
Second, Christ offered Himself up as a sacrifice, which is why we are to daily offer up ourselves as "living sacrifices" (Romans 12:1). With armies of angels and the power of the heavens at His command, would it have been possible to hang the Son of God on a cross without His permission? What's more, how awful would it be for us now had nobody "killed" Jesus? We required His perfect blood to wash our sins away. "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22).
Therefore, to blame any individual or group for "murdering" Jesus is incorrect, and a dishonor to His sacrifice.