Son of Man
The favorite title Jesus used for Himself was “Son of Man”. You will find this phrase almost ninety times in the gospels. I’m sure there are several reasons why Jesus chose to use this phrase over others, however, there are two that we can be sure of.
First, this title was a direct nod to the prophecy of Daniel, “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)
This is obviously important as this is Jesus connecting Himself to a prophecy concerning the Messiah. This may seem obscure to us sitting here in the 21st century- but the Jews of Jesus’ day would be very familiar with the prophecy. Jesus never attempted to hide who He was- and His Jewish audience would easily understand the correlation.
To negate that Jesus was the Messiah is to reject His own claims to be so. He may have not shouted from the rooftops that He was the Messiah, but He certainly made claims for those who had eyes to see and ears to hear.
However, it’s the second aspect of this phrase that intrigues me. The phrase Son of Man obviously carries with it the picture of humanity. It was no mistake that He chose to use this phrase far more than Son of God (used less than half the number of times in the gospels); He was choosing to identify Himself with those He came to save.
Jesus was and is utterly unique- no God imagined in the minds of men would care enough for humanity to live among them- much less to become one of them (John 1:14- “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”). However, Jesus willingly emptied Himself of the glory He had in eternity past to live, become, and identify as one of us. as it says in Philippians 2:5-7, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men”.
Jesus’ humanity was not only necessary with regards to our salvation (if He wasn’t human, He couldn’t die) but it was also an incredible gift to us for His current ministry. Jesus is described as our high priest, which the book of Hebrews speaks a great deal about. In one of those passages it says, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” (Hebrews 4:14)
A high priest was a representative of the people, therefore, the more the high priest knows the people the better job he can do. Jesus didn’t come to just be a good high priest but a perfect high priest. One of my favorite passages is the next two verses in Hebrews, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Jesus’ humanity makes Him a perfect high priest because He can sympathize with our problems. He knows, personally and experientially, what it means to be human. With all the emotions, thoughts, and feelings that you and I have- all without sin.
Because He was the Son of Man, He can be our perfect high priest. A high priest that we are told to come to for grace and mercy. But notice, we are not to just come, but we are to boldly come. We have no need to worry or wonder if this high priest can encourage and comfort because He’s been the Son of Man- He knows your pain.
The Word of God
The Word of God
Think of someone you are close to relationally. Now, imagine that person wrote a book, how eager would you be to pick up and read that book? Perhaps you would read it with more enthusiasm and concentration than any other book you’ve read.
Now, imagine that very book held all the knowledge you would ever need for all matters of spirituality; all knowledge you would ever need for all matters of life, death, and what comes after. If that was the case, I imagine you would go over it with a fine-tooth comb.
However, as you probably already know, that book exists and if you would be eager to read such a book by someone you know and love, how much more eager should you be to read such a book by someone who knows and loves you? Not only knows and loves you but is the sovereign God of the universe.
The bible is that book; the most incredible and unique book ever written. All the power, longevity, and relevance the book has sustained in the millennia since it was written is all due to its author.
2 Timothy 3:16- “All scripture is given by inspiration of God”
2 Peter 1:21- “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
We don’t have to stand in the dark as to what God wants us to know- it’s been given to us by Him. Formed by 66 books written over the course of about 1500 years (from Moses in 1500 BC to John in 90 AD) by around 40 different men. These men came from all walks of life; from hermits and fisherman to scribes and prophets. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Koine Greek.
Despite the many authors and the time it took to complete it has one continuous story (God’s dealing with man from fall, redemption, and eternity), it tells of one plan of salvation (by grace through faith), it has one central theme (Jesus Christ), and it has one central purpose (to bring glory to God). No other book in the history of mankind has even come close to inspiring more art, poems, music, and other writings than the bible.
No other book has been hated or attacked like the bible and yet it still exists and is much more readily available now than at any time in its history. This is as God said it would be, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) A.W. Pink stated, “No other book has provoked such fierce opposition as the Bible, and its preservation is perhaps the most startling miracle connected with it.”
The bible is so wrapped up in the fabric of our culture that many people use biblical terminology without even knowing it’s from the bible. Idioms such “a drop in the bucket” (Isaiah 40:15) or a “good Samaritan” (Luke 10:30-35) are straight from the Word of God.
With a book like this, it boggles the mind to think that so many avoid reading it- many of God’s own; and according to its own message the bible is something to be studied (2 Tim 2:15), acted upon (James 1:22), and believed (John 20:31). It is certainly not something to simply look good on our shelf. Charles Spurgeon once said, “A bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” Now, someone who’s consistently in the Word doesn’t necessitate a strong relationship with Christ (which is why Spurgeon said usually and not always), but someone who is never in the Word can’t have a strong relationship with Christ.
All this to say we serve an amazing God who has given us an amazing book. A book that will lead, guide, and direct our lives to be more like the One who inspired it.
Be Content and Change the World
Note- As Mother's Day is this Sunday I decided to ask Beth to write the devotion this week.
Motherhood is daunting. An oft thankless job that is all about putting others first and yourself last. It is a job not for the faint of heart. It is a job that is a blessing from God. Many times, the blessings are obscured by our attitude toward the monotony of the tasks at hand. We tell ourselves there are more important things we should be doing.
There’s a wonderful quote by George MacDonald that says, “I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thoughts, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.”
When our thinking revolves around serving God where He has placed us, we can find contentment and joy in the midst of the frustrating, thankless, day to day work of motherhood.
When I first surrendered my life to ministry as a teen, I just knew I was going to change the world. I would become a household name alongside Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, Jim Elliot, etc. (Nothing like a little fantasized self-glory to encourage yourself, right?) It wasn’t all for myself though; I was so excited to do great things for God and his Kingdom. To bring others the life-changing news of the gospel and encourage others to do the same. Though I was still focused on my own potential fame, God’s glory was still also high on my list.
Then I left for bible college and met others like me. Not the self-focused part (though there were some of those) but others who desired the same goals as me. To truly change the world for God. To enormously impact everyone around us and in the far reaches of the world.
I met James and was again excited as we began our Christian journey together. To work together serving our great God and ministering to others. When James surrendered to preach, I was less than enthused. I held no delusions about the pain and struggle that would come with that position. Welcome to the fish bowl! Our lives would be constantly scrutinized, as would those of our children. It would be exhausting, but still excitement began to bloom. I was so eager to implement all our ideas, to be the one people came to for counsel, to strengthen the spiritual walk of our congregants. I couldn’t wait!
And now I’m a stay at home mom. My bible degree began to feel a little pointless. Evangelism? I never leave the house. Strengthening others? I can barely drag myself out of bed for exhaustion. And a very dangerous feeling began to replace my optimistic expectations: discontentment. I began to live my life on auto-pilot and discontentment continued.
I got into the trap of dwelling only on the future. It’ll be better when _____. I can’t wait until _____, then we can really ________. Focus only on the future of our ministry left my current ministry abandoned. When I am only looking ahead, I miss out on the daily opportunities God gives me.
I knew I was discontent. I knew it was a slap in God’s face to be discontent with my life. Then I started telling myself an even more dangerous lie. I’ll be content when _______. But let me tell you: If you aren’t content now you never will be.
That’s not to say that you can’t prayerfully change your attitude. Begin to be thankful for what you’ve been given and dwell on your blessings and it is very hard not to be content. But if you are waiting for something in your life to change so that you’ll be content, it just isn’t going to happen. Contentment is all about peace and happiness in any situation.
True contentment comes when we have the mentality of Paul, as he wrote to the Philippians, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
Contentment supersedes any circumstance. “Content” is defined as “satisfaction with what one is or has”. That means contentment is right where you are. Contentment is trusting the circumstances of your life to God and having faith that He has a plan despite what you may be going through.
So what does this have to do with changing the world? Everything. We cannot change the world for God when we are pouting about our circumstances. I know it sounds trite, but God does everything for a reason. Joseph comes to mind. Joseph was sold into slavery by jealous brothers, propositioned by his boss’ wife, wrongfully accused of sexual assault,and imprisoned on the basis of those false claims. Why? So he could change the world. His circumstances, though often dire, drove him to the place of leadership from which he changed the course of history by saving many from starvation, including his brothers.
Joseph’s amazing world-change isn’t exactly what I want to focus on, though. Because for most of us, it’s the little things we do that change the world. Although Joseph is an excellent example of contentment, we don’t often see the results of our actions like he did. We may not know the difference we make until much later, if we ever know it in our lifetime.
Our ultimate goal as Christians is to bring glory to God. Some will do it by preaching to millions and seeing many repent and trust Christ for salvation. Some will do it by helping the impoverished. And some will do it by praising God in the little moments of the day.
I Corinthians 10:31 says, “whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” This shows us that the “little” things matter. We can change the world by giving God glory in all that we do. We can give God glory even when eating and drinking (or whatever we’re doing). Whenever we give glory to God, even in the mundane, those mundane things have the potential to change the world!
Several years ago I sat on the couch with my mom and watched the boys running around playing together. I was lamenting to my mom about this very thing. I thought I was going to change the world and here I sat, my day full of diaper changes and settling petty squabbles and feeling sorry for myself. “I was supposed to be changing the world, Mom!”. She looked pointedly to the boys, then back at me, before replying, “You are.”
Everything we do for God’s glory is world-changing. It matters eternally to Micah, to Isaiah, to April, and to Ellie, that I am content in where God has placed me. My contentment grants me the freedom to unashamedly and joyfully throw myself into “whatsoever I do” to bring glory to God. Praying and reading bible stories to my kids matters. Sitting by myself and spending time in prayer and meditation matters. Time spent serving my family by meeting their physical needs matters.
Even if I never see the reaping, I will continue to sow. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” My “due season” may not be in this life. But one day, I will step into eternity. One day, I will see why all the mundane tasks mattered. And if I live my life content where God has placed me, no matter how many times my circumstances change, I will change the world.
I’ll end with the same quote I began with,
“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thoughts, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.”
Now be content. And change the world.