Good Fridays’ Son of Man
Text: Daniel 7:13; Rev. 1:13; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10: 32
Proposition: It is the very sovereignty of God that makes Him gloriously revealed in suffering and majestically worthy in overcoming.
Introduction: Have you ever hit a golf ball only to watch it sail high to the right, slicing off into the trees. As the ball goes you lean to the left, you may even start waving frantically to the left, you might even start to call out specific instructions to the ball, which of course by now is completely out of hearing range. Why do we do that? Why do we call out answers to the game show host on the Price is Right, or scold some player in a sporting event we’re watching on TV? We know these are events that have been set in motion and are beyond our control, and perhaps that is what irks us the most. It’s beyond our control.
As we consider the events of Good Friday, two things become glaringly obvious: everything from the human perspective was occurring beyond their control; everything from the divine perspective was occurring exactly as intended by God. Think for a moment about what you know of the details of that day. You know that the crowds that hailed Him on Palm Sunday, nailed Him on Good Friday. From the wounding of Malchus’ ear to the foreboding dream that Pilates wife experienced, nothing and no one, not even Satan, could alter the course of events. You know that Pilate found Him innocent, and though he was the highest authority, found himself overruled and washed his hands of the death sentence. There were the words of Jesus as He called out, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” From the remorse of Judas to the denial of Peter, we see people moving in ways that were above their awareness of all that was really taking place.
But what of the second part of this, that everything from the divine perspective was occurring completely as God intended. Consider just three verses of Scripture: Mark 8:31, Mark 9:31, Mark 10: 32. As we read these I want to encourage you look for key details, similar terms and points of additional information. Let’s read them.
Mark 8:31… And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mark 9:31… For He taught His disciples and said to them, "The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day."
Mark 10:33.34… "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; And they shall mock Him, and shall scourge Him, and shall spit upon Him, and shall kill Him: and the third day He shall rise again.”
I. The Son of Man Is God’s Sovereign Response to Sin.
As you read along in those three verses the title that Jesus used to describe Himself every time was…the Son of Man. When you say that phrase it seems to describe a person who is born of woman, a human being. But if you break the phrase into two parts it more correctly defines what it means. It is “the Son”, whom we take to be the second person of the God head. The Son is God. The Son “of Man”, speaks to the incarnation of the Son through man, or “of man’. So the title refers to the humanity of Christ that veils His deity. But there’s more to this title, especially in light of the Triumphal entry of Palm Sunday. The term Son of Man first occurs in Daniel 7:13. It refers to a vision that Daniel had of a person who would be presented before Almighty God and would be given an everlasting kingdom and dominion over all nations. Did the disciples understand this use of the term, ‘Son of Man’? Jesus used it so repeatedly to describe Himself, not just here but throughout His ministry, that it could have hardly gone unnoticed. In Mark alone it occurs in 2:10; 2:28; 8:31; 8:38; 9:9; 9:12; 9:31; 10:32; 10:45; 13:26; 13:32; 13:34; 14:21; 14:41; 14:62; 15:39… 16 times in just the gospel of Mark! The Son…of man, must suffer many things… Jesus was teaching the disciples again and again that God has had a plan for dealing with sin even before the days of Daniel. The plan calls for the Son to be of man, the plan calls for deity to be sacrificed for humanity. The plan points to a God who will not, will not, let go of a stubborn and sinful man, made in His image. It points to His grace and to His great pleasure, for God redeems man because of God’s pleasure to do so, more than because of man’s great need for it to be done. For His name’s sake He redeems you. This is the first great truth of the sovereign rescue of man by the Son …of man.
II. The Suffering Servant is God’s Sovereign Response to Sin.
As you read these three verses the reference to Jesus suffering is in every account. In 8:31 Jesus says, “the Son of Man must suffer many things”, in 9:31 He simply says He will be “delivered into the hands of men”. In 10:34 He adds, “they will mock Him, spit upon Him and scourge Him”. In all three accounts He says that they will, in the end, kill Him.
Have you ever wondered why the Christ needed to suffer as well as to die? Why was it necessary for the sacrifice to suffer? Certainly the animal sacrifices which pictured Christ were not made to suffer, the Passover lamb was not tortured before it was killed. And yet in all these accounts that we read in the gospel of Mark, Jesus said that He must suffer many things. We could look at the words of prophecy in Isaiah 53 which foretells the suffering of Christ as well as the death of Christ…chastened for our well being, by His scourging we are healed, pierced through for our transgression. These are the words Isaiah uses to describe the suffering of the Christ as He atoned for our sin. The suffering servant role of Christ refers certainly to His suffering on the cross for our sin, but it also refers to His suffering before the cross. So the question presents itself, why was it necessary for the Christ to suffer when it was His death that would be the actual means for the paying the price of our sin? Was it that the blood of Jesus was spilled in suffering and that this was part of the death of Jesus, for the blood contains the life? If you saw the Passion of Christ, the films intent was to show you the blood of Jesus shed for you. Was the shedding of blood by torture part of the dying of Jesus? Was the suffering of Christ by being beaten, mocked, spat upon and scourged a picture of the total extent of man’s sin being put upon Christ? Was the extent of the guilt of our sin being demonstrated in the suffering of the Christ? Isaiah 53 :10 says, “ But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief ; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering.” Oh, I certainly think these are reflections of what was happening and they culminate in His being pierced through for our transgressions. But there’s something else we need to see here, we need to see the sovereignty of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit putting their hand into the flame of sin in order to draw our spirit and body out.
Time and again Jesus told the disciples that this was about to occur. The details of how the Christ was to suffer and be crucified are in the Old Testament record. Had Jesus ever read Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Isaiah 52:14, if He did He would have read of the agonies and suffering that awaited Him.
This is my point, when we see the passion of Christ as He was arrested and beaten, mocked and spat upon, scourged and crucified, know that Jesus Christ was not taken at the hand of the Jews or at the hand of the Gentiles and put to death because of some vendetta or political cause. Jesus with the Father and the Holy Spirit gave His life intentionally, according to the Father’s plan and purpose. Know that this act of sacrifice on His part is a declarative statement about the person hood of God as much and more than it is a statement about the salvation of man from sin. Your God moves with a resolute will to proclaim the cost of holiness as justice and mercy mix in the blood that flowed from Christ. It is His great Grace that modifies His all knowing , all powerful never changing personhood… because He loves you! He loves you to death! The cross is more a statement about God than it is a statement about man because it was not man that made the cross occur, it was God.