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Who Does Jesus Say He Is?

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
August 3, 2021 12:01 am

Who Does Jesus Say He Is?

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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August 3, 2021 12:01 am

The New Testament ascribes many titles to Jesus, but there is one name that Christ used more than any other to refer to Himself. Today, R.C. Sproul expounds upon the immense significance of this exalted title.

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In the New Testament we find many titles for Jesus son of God, Christ the Lord Messiah.

But Jesus referred to himself with one name in particular that has incredible significance will talk about that next on Renewing Your Mind referred to Jesus as Christ the Lord is in fact we should call in the Lord were obligated to do so would Jesus referred to himself. He used a name out of the Old Testament name that gave them a very specific role in history today. We returned to Dr. RC Sproul series Christ is too small, look at in this segment is found in Jesus think of himself.

The scholars have examined all the names and all of the titles that the New Testament uses for Jesus and they catalogued them and put them in the computer and see which ones come out first and second and third. Well what these studies have shown is that far and away the most frequent title that is given to Jesus in the New Testament is the title Christ several hundreds, perhaps even thousands of times when the New Testament speaks of Jesus calls him. Jesus Christ in second place we suppose was in second place to Lord is the title Lord. And again this title Lord is used hundreds of times for Jesus in the New Testament. This Jesus, who is at once Messiah and Lord will will look at the meaning of that title. Lord a little later, but in this segment. What I'm interested in is the one that ranks in third place in terms of frequency.

Anybody guess what that rabbi wrong is Son of Man.

The Son of Man is in third place in terms of numerical frequency. Another something very very strange about this in first. All we have to understand that what ranks number one is in the hundreds or even thousands of number two is in the hundreds and so you have this high frequency of the use of the names Christ and Lord for Jesus in the New Testament and then there's this great numerical gap before you get out of the number three it's either 82 or 83. It's one of those 69 times in the synoptic Gospels. One of the synoptic Gospels Matthew Mark and Luther right now. Matthew Mark and Luke.

John's Gospel spends almost 2/3 of the time in the writing just on the last week of Jesus life is much more intensely theological and is not interested so much in giving us an overview of biography of Jesus as the other Gospels are so we make a distinction between John and the synoptic Gospels 69 times. Jesus is called Son of Man in the synoptic Gospels 12 times is called Son of Man in John's Gospel, and that makes 81 right and I believe there only two other references in the whole rest of New Testament to Jesus as the son of me. Here's the thing that blows my mind that every single time that the synoptic Gospels use the title Son of Man for Jesus the same person is speaking in a hooded Jesus. Nobody else because of the Son of Man and the synoptic Gospels. But Jesus continuously calls himself the Son of Man, even at the Caesarea Philippi confession when Peter said, thou art the Christ, the son of the living God, Jesus, and blessed art thou, Simon bar Jonah but yet understand this, the Son of Man must suffer many things even there when he acknowledges tacitly that he is the Messiah, he still talks of himself as the Son of Man, why deceases call himself Son of Man know when I ask people that question.

You know what the usual answer is so sure you can guess what in our church in the history of Christianity, we formulated our theology. We have our doctrines and everything we learned in Sunday school about Jesus, we learn that the church believes that Jesus has two natures, a divine nature and human nature that he is the God man.

From one perspective, he's God from another perspective, he's human and so we go the New Testament and we read some titles in there and one of the titles is that Jesus is called the son of God, and then we look at another title, and it says that he's the Son of Man. So over the obvious conclusion be from the whenever the Bible says that Jesus is the son of God is referring to his deity, and when the Bible refers to Jesus as the Son of Man is referring to his humanity when she expect that to be the case. Guess what doesn't work. That's not the way it works out. But since that's normally the way we understand the Bible when we rated.

When Jesus calls himself the Son of Man, that sounds like Jesus is bearing super humble dozen.

It's like everybody else's eager to applaud him in and exalt him and they say you're the Messiah, the Lord, we think you're fabulous. You're the king of Israel. Your all this in Jesus is humbly just the Son of Man I'm just another like Sam Ervin, a poor country lawyer of people and self depreciating language speak of themselves, ladies and gentlemen we miss something very very important and very profound when we think that way because the fact of the matter is the title Son of Man is a majestic title. It is a supernatural title and the title calls more attention to Jesus deity into his humanity. That's a paradox that's ironic.

But Jesus did not invent the title Son of Man. The title Son of Man was well known in Israel in the Old Testament we have prophets I've mentioned them already. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Micah, just you read the profit you can understand the prophets or psychiatric then we have a couple of these guys in the Old Testament the right and you start to read it and you get them Excedrin headache and you say what's going on here and those are what we call the apocalyptic prophets of the Old Testament prophets. Daniel and Ezekiel will the title Son of Man is very important to the Old Testament book of Daniel, and let's take a look at it for second and see what Daniel says about the Son of Man we find the famous passage in the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel, and where we read that Daniel had a dream.

Daniel spoke, saying, I saw in my vision by night, and behold the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea and four beasts came up from the sea. Here we go, trouble already would be skimming up on the sleep. Each different from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings and so on. He goes through all of the strange looking beasts, and then he says in verse nine.

I watched all of this display bizarre display until thrones were put in place and the ancient of days was seated now that was not too hard to figure out who in this story you suppose is the ancient of days, God the father and what Daniel is saying is the throne room of God. No, I want you to pay attention to hear is the visual graphic description of God the father of the ancient of days, his garment was as white as snow, and the hair of his head was like pure. His throne was a fiery flame and its wheels a burning fire and a fiery stream issued and came forth from before him and a thousand thousands ministered to him 10,00010,000 stood before him were looking into the inner sanctum of heaven where the heavenly host in glory is surrounding the ancient of days and then it says the court was seated in the books were opened. Mrs. Rod contact the bailiff is just project the defendant said very hard to hear ye hear ye the court is now in session and the judge gives in and sits down at the bench and then over the script to verse 13 and it says I was watching in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. And that's the technical phrase the clouds of heaven are the glory clouds the Shekinah claps the iridescent clubs there for folds and clouds. The clouds that gave this external manifestation of the refolded glory when Jesus was taken up in the heaven was a clouds of glory when he said that he would return. It's on that same visual manifestation of glory like the glory of God that illumined the shepherd's field outside of Bethlehem on the night of Jesus for the glory of God breaks through and penetrates into the earthly sphere, said one like the Son of Man came with clouds of heaven. But where is he coming when we think about Christ coming on clouds of glory were as he headed here is coming here, but in this scene. The Son of Man isn't coming to the earth. He's coming to the front of the father and he came to the ancient of days and they brought him near before him.

Then to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom the one that shall never be destroyed. I Daniel was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my trouble verify so that I think it is a make some things in my body do and though my head would be a little bit felt, but to see how almost bizarre that is helped strange the language of that time apocalyptic literature comes to us at 604 to those of us that speak in a more sober and direct didactic way. But again, when I'm interested in.

There is the description of God. Remember not want to flip over to the New Testament Apocalypse and will have one more exercise in this strange imagery.

Where will go to the first chapter of the book of the Revelation where John the apostle John has a very similar experience to what Daniel had in the Old Testament. He also has a dream. He also has a vision and we read in the ninth verse of the first chapter of the book of Revelation. John says this I John, both your brother and companion in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ, and I was in the spirit on the Lord's day and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet is with the boy said I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, and what you see writing a book and send it to the seven churches that are in Asia to Ephesus to smart a protostar Dars artist build off in the Laodicea so you get the scene here. John's having this strange experience. He's having his vision and while he's in the spirit he hears his voice that sounds like a trumpet is like a call attention is like now hear this, but whatever you see right down and I want you to send it to the principal churches in the infant Christian community throughout Asia minor. Then he says I turn to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lamps and in the midst of the seven lampstands one like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band was his head and his hair were white like as white as snow in his eyes as a flame of fire. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace in his voice as the sound of many waters that he had in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword in his countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as the dead, but he laid his right hand on me, saying to me. Do not be afraid, for I am the first and the other to catch what happens if the same visible description that Daniel uses to describe the portrait of the ancient of days of God the father is now used, to describe the seven you can bet the Jews pick that up. They understood the significance not what does all of that me basically what it means is that in Old Testament Judaism. The figure of the Son of Man was first and foremost, the figure of a heavenly being is a heavenly Bay who has something very important to do with men but he's a heavenly Bay.

The first man. The Bible tells us was of the earth earthly. The second man was from heaven and Jesus frequently speaks not only about his ascension where he tells his disciples that someday he is going to leave them and ascend up to heaven, but he says things like no man ascends up to heaven except the one who has descended from heaven as we work. A careful study of the Son of Man idea and motif in Israel, we see that the Son of Man is a heavenly being who comes to this planet and then after he comes of this planet. He reports back to the ancient of days, when the thrones were set up in the books are open. No, the key here is in the function. The role that the Son of Man place the principal role in the Old Testament of the Son of Man is the role of judge the ancient of days calls upon the Son of Man to bring judgment.

He is working for the ancient of days in a way we could call him the prosecuting attorney who comes down checks out the same and reports back and then participates with the father in judgment when Jesus comes into the world, he speaks of crisis. The New Testament word Croesus, the Greek word, Croesus is the New Testament word for judgment and Jesus and his ministry is constantly saying the people look, I didn't come to bring peace but a sword. I've come to set brother against sister, brother against father, that is, I have come because the crisis of human history is right now and how you respond to me is going to determine what happens in the throne room. Ultimately, and how you respond to me is going to have eternal significance in terms of your final judgment.

I know I'm talking to people who live in a culture who simply do not believe that there ever will be a final judgment, but if there's anything that Jesus Christ taught. He taught that we are each one accountable ultimately for our lives in every other word we speak will be brought before the judgment and the judge will be Christ. So when Jesus calls himself the Son of Man.

He's not speaking in humility.

Let me just quickly give you two illustrations of this.

The Pharisees were arguing about what's proper to do on the Sabbath day. And Jesus makes a very enigmatic statement to and where he says the Sabbath was made for me, not man for the Sabbath rules the Pharisees had on the Sabbath were choking people.

They were crushing them for destroying human dignity. They use the Sabbath as a club to punish people. Jesus is not the purpose of the seven signs made for man, not man for the Sabbath and I say this, that you may know that the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath who created the Sabbath who has authority over the Sabbath, not Moses. The Son of Man elsewhere. Jesus is in trouble with the Pharisees because he declares people sins forgiven into the Jewish people. The only person who could ever forgive sins was God, and they want the stone Jesus for blasphemy when he would forgive people sins and he said I do these things and I say these things so that you might know the Son of Man has authority on the earth to forgive sins what Jesus is saying in the Jews understood it. I did come from Bethlehem. I came from heaven because it is written revelation is one passage in the New Testament where Jesus is referred to by someone else's the Son of Man. The other passage is one of my favorite passages.

There is the Bible's of the book of acts when we read the narrative of the death of the first Christian martyr remember the death of Stephen how Stephen preached before the Jewish authorities before the Sanhedrin, which was the Highest Jewish Ct. in Israel and they were so provoked and so angry with Stephen that the Scriptures tell us their hatred became so intense and vehement that they were gnashing their teeth and taking up stunts and I couldn't wait to kill it and so there's a kangaroo court and the Highest Ct. in Israel sentences Stephen to death on the spot for heresy and so they start throwing stones at him. And while the stones are bouncing off his had been off his chest, and office space. And these were sharp stones and heavy stones. They were just slow purple Stephen is about to die, to remember what happened is standing there and he says behold, the heavens are and I see the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God is something that I love every time Jesus talks about the Son of Man. He talks about was the judge and he talks about being seated at the right hand of God.

When we do the apostles Creed and recites their sovereign reports by Chris Vandenburg stolen he ascended to heaven and sits on the right hand of God the father mighty what's going on at the right hand. That's the seat of church and so everything the Scriptures talk about the Son of Man is that Jesus is going to be the judge who sitting at the right hand of God, and in this passage we read that Stephen looks up in the heaven while the Sanhedrin is seated in judgment against him and condemning him and killing him. Stephen looks up at heaven and he sees Jesus not sitting at the right hand of God, but he sees Jesus stand up. That's the gospel that the charge of the one before whom you will be held ultimately accountable for the one who will evaluate and examine your moral performance of your obedience or disobedience of Almighty God is the one who will sit in judgment to you at the end of the age and who will be seated in the courtroom at the right hand of the father did.

When I say what's your name and your name is Mary Geiger and the charges are brought against you and you look at the judge and all of a sudden the judge gets up out of his seat and walks around the bench and says Your Honor I am her defense counsel. That's the incredible thing that God has designed the judge to be our defense attorney. That's what Stephen saw. He saw an Jesus gap remove himself from the place of prosecution and stand there as his reason is because the judge himself. The one who judges arson summer. Dr. RC Sproul. The message from his series, Christ is too small. Thanks for joining us on this. The Tuesday edition of Renewing Your Mind. I'm Lee Webb. This is classic RC Sproul material. He brought such clarity to the title Son of Man that is a great example of why we so appreciate his teaching the series were featuring this week comes from a special ministry partner archives, a collection of sermons and messages available only to those who sign up to give a monthly gift to the ministry.

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We've heard whom men say Jesus is then Jesus says he is. Tomorrow's message will reveal who God the father says Jesus is.

I hope you'll join us here for the Wednesday edition of Renewing Your Mind

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