This week many churches begin the season of lent. It has been a tradition here at Tea Time For Your Soul to focus on the message of Easter during the period of Lent. I have just come across a devotional book called At the Name of Jesus–Meditations on the Exalted Christ, by Tricia McCary Rhodes. (Bethany House, 2003). The book contains 31 meditations on names of Jesus. I wanted to focus these weeks before Easter on a few of the names of Jesus.
Shakespeare asked, What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. When you stop to think about the names of Jesus, you receive a broader picture of who He really is. During these days leading up to Easter, I hope that recalling the character of Jesus through recognizing His names will deepen your love and appreciation of Jesus and open your heart to a fuller understanding of Easter.
A good name to begin is the name Jesus most often called himself, The Son of Man. Max Lucado says: Consider all the titles Jesus could have used to define himself on earth: Kings of kings, the great I AM, the Beginning and the End, the Lord of All, Jehovah, High and Holy. All of these and a dozen others would have been appropriate. But Jesus didn't use them. Instead, he called himself the Son of Man. This title appears eighty-two times in the New Testament. Eighty-one of which are in the Gospels. Eighty of which are directly from the lips of Jesus. (Max Lucado, The Final Week of Jesus, Multnomah Books, pp. 20-21)
What do we learn about Jesus as we focus on this name? Choosing to call Himself the Son of Man was choosing to emphasize that He was one of us. The name the Son of Man reflects all that was painful and difficult about being on God in human form. In Mark 8:31 He told us that the Son of Man must suffer many things. Matthew 8:20 reminds us that the Son of Man does not have a place to call home. In 2 Corinthians 8:9 Paul reminds us that Jesus had to completely impoverish Himself to come to earth. The best description of what it means to be the Son of Man is found in Philippians 2:5-8. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!
When Jesus was calling Himself the Son of Man what he was really saying was; I'm pleased to be accepted and associated among these lower-life forms. I came to be accepted as one of them. I, the Creator, have made myself one of them. Truly this is an awesome thought. The humbleness of Jesus to take on human flesh was prompted by His outrageous love for us. I've pondered Jesus' humility in becoming flesh before, but I never connected that thought with the truth it was the substance of His favorite name, the name He used most often among us. Coming to earth was never some kind of vacation for Jesus. It was a mission trip. Jesus came to see His family and to bring us relief and aid from our sin. He came into our barren, impoverished condition to show us who we are and who we can be, if we embrace the Son of Man!
How do you respond to the Son of Man? Write a prayer to Jesus addressing Him as the Son of Man and pondering why God would become flesh!