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Gospel of John 9: 35-38 (NIV)
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man*?”
36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshipped him.
Jesus had just opened the eyes of a man who was born blind. Jesus asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man*?” What did Jesus mean?
In the NIV translations of the four Gospels, “Son of Man” appears 82 times. Of those, all bar two are statements of self-identification by Jesus. It is evident that “Son of Man” is Jesus’ most commonly used title for himself.
We refer to the Hebrew Scriptures to learn why. The prophet Daniel recorded a dream (Daniel 7: 13-14):
In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
This passage would have been well known to Jesus’ disciples and to the Pharisees. It is possible that the man born blind knew it too. I believe it could be only to this reference to the “Son of Man” that Jesus pointed in choosing thus to describe himself.
As Christians we proclaim that Jesus is fully man and fully God. Most of the world’s faiths reject the concept of a Triune God but the divine nature of Jesus is critical for Christians. Was the one who was executed on the cross uniquely Son of God or was he just another man, a good man but only a man? If the one who was crucified, died and buried was merely a man and not God incarnate then to what do we turn that is able to save us from the righteous judgement of God? Our own pathetic attempts to do the right thing will not be enough to save us from the wrath to come.
Jesus was crucified, died and was buried. God raised him from the state of death to life and exalted him to heaven. To me, this validates all the teaching Jesus gave while on earth, it validates all the healing he performed and it validates every claim Jesus made about himself and about his relationship with the Father. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are able to believe that Jesus, as “Son of Man”, is Son of God.
But it is not sufficient just to believe that Jesus as “Son of Man” is Son of God.
Having believed, it is necessary also that we do as did the man born blind: that we worship Jesus. We do this by entrusting ourselves completely to him. This means not holding back anything from him, not trying to hang on to ownership of any aspect of our lives or our lifestyles. It is not until we entrust our all to him that we can offer full obedience to him – obedience, regardless of circumstances and regardless of the cost.
“Lord, I believe, and I worship you.”
* Some ancient authorities use “Son of God”, a translation possibly introduced by early Christian scribes.