Springboarding off of the Apostle Paul’s life focus, clearly expressed in 1 Corinthians 2:2, Pastor Greg launched an “open-ended” message series on January 12th, 2020 – focusing on “Just Jesus.” He is walking us through the entire New Testament, pulling passages from the Old Testament for context, and keep us focused throughout the year on “Just Jesus.” This week Pastor G delivers part 39 of his “Just Jesus” series.
Today’s message covers Matthew 8:20- 22. Today, Pastor G talks about what Jesus was really referring to when He called Himself “The Son of Man.” We also see Jesus invite another man to follow Him. But the man wants to wait until after he has buried his father. We often refer to this man as “The Reluctant Disciple.” Pastor G talks about some of our own reluctance to be “fully devoted” followers of Jesus and he contrasts this reluctance with the exuberance shown by the first four disciples who responded to Jesus’ invitation.
Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” ~ Matthew 8:20
In Scripture, the term “Son of Man” is used in three different ways.
1) To refer to a prophet, like Ezekiel. The phrase occurs often in relation to him.
2) To differentiate humans from God and the created order of His angels.
3) To refer to a Divine Being – a Chosen One of our Creator God – who would appear in the clouds one day. The arrival of this SPECIFIC “Son of Man” signals the end of the age, the coming judgment of God and the final redemption of God’s Creation.
I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames. Its wheels were a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; the court sat, and the books were opened. ~ Daniel 7:9-10
The Books that are opened is a reference to the books of judgment, the Book of Life and the Book of Death, opened every year on Yom Kippur.
Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. ~ Daniel 7:11-12
I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man (literally one who looked like a human man but was something more) was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. ~ Daniel 7:13-14
Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. ~ Revelation 1:7
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. ~ Revelation 1:12-14
Notice that in John’s vision, Jesus looks just like the Ancient of Days Himself in Daniel’s Vision. Another clear nod that Jesus is God in the Flesh. Just like Jesus told us “I and the Father are One. If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father!”
His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. ~ Revelation 1:15-16
Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.” ~ Revelation 14:14-15
Whenever Jesus uses the term Son of Man to refer to Himself, He is not just referring to Himself as a human being or as a prophet – though these are both sometimes included in the traditional use of this idiom. Jesus is certainly claiming those two things too but He is also claiming something more. He is claiming the Messianic Title of Son of Man for Himself. He is referring to Himself as the one who will fulfill Daniel’s prophecy about the One who is like a Son of Man who comes in the clouds
Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.” ~ Matthew 8:21-22
Some scholars have suggested this is an ancient middle east idiom and the man’s father isn’t actually dead yet. Likely what the man is actually asking Jesus is to wait an unspecified amount of time, perhaps many years, until his aged father EVENTUALLY passes away. In other words, the man is saying “I want to follow You Jesus but right now is not a good time for me. Later, when it is better for me, I will be happy to follow You.”
“Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.” ~ Matthew 10:37
So He’s telling this reluctant disciple, there are other family members who can care for your aging father. I am calling YOU to follow Me, RIGHT NOW.