Son of Man

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“…that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, and must be crucified, and must rise again on the third day…”

The women are asked to remember what Jesus had told them. This phrase, now repeated by the messengers to help them remember, is something Jesus had told them during his ministry in Galilee.

The foretelling of his death and rising happens in Luke twice: Luke 9:21-22 and Luke 18:31-34.* (texts below.) There is secrecy requested in one instance, and obscurity and confounding in the other. Hearing Jesus’s words of prediction given in the past repeated now at his tomb brought clarity and comprehension.

Let’s look closely at the words of Jesus repeated here by the messengers.

“The Son of Man” is a reference Jesus used for himself. It occurs 88 times in the New Testament. It is a title that marks his humanity and humility. It is not a strong messianic title like Son of God but one that clearly expresses how Jesus saw himself during his life and ministry. Other translations are Son of Adam and Son of Humanity. Jesus is speaking in the third person when he uses this title. Its frequency of usage indicates that the disciples and followers of Jesus would understand he was speaking about himself.

In this predictive phrase, Jesus spoke of three things that were going to happen to him.

He would be:

  • betrayed into the hands of sinful ones
  • crucified
  • risen

That morning at the tomb, these women already knew the first two of these things. They were present for them. They knew of the betrayal and the handing over of Jesus to the authorities. They knew firsthand his crucifixion, as they were there for all of it: at the cross, at his dying, at his removal from the execution planks, at the placement in the tomb.

It is the last action that they are being invited, coaxed, and encouraged to realize and see. By repeating these words of Jesus, the angels are saying to these women: “Now you know the first two things Jesus said are true. You were there, you saw with your own eyes how his prediction has been fulfilled. Now take the next step. Trust that the third is true also. He is risen. He is not here. See it now?”

Words spoken in the past and heard again in a new context can change everything. When the heart is ready to learn and understand a new revelation from words echoed, epiphanies happen. For these women, the penny dropped. The realization was made. The words Jesus spoke were fulfilled in their entirety. Jesus was betrayed. Jesus did die. Jesus now lives.

Revelation. Realization. Awakening.

Jesus is risen.

Hope stares down fear.

Prayer: God, open me to the echo of your words that I may hear and learn from them in new and life-giving ways. Thank you for the words of Jesus. Resurrect my heart with them. Amen. Alleluia.

 *Luke 9:21-22: But Jesus expressly told them not to say a word to anybody, at the same time warning them of the inevitability of the Son of Man’s great suffering, of his repudiation by the elders, chief priests and scribes, and of his death and of being raised to life again on the third day.

Luke 18:31-34: Then Jesus took the twelve on one side and spoke to them, “Listen to me. We are now going up to Jerusalem and everything that has been written by the prophets about the Son of Man will come true. For he will be handed over to the heathen, and he is going to be jeered at and insulted and spat upon, and then they will flog and kill him. But he will rise again on the third day.”34 But they did not understand any of this, His words were quite obscure to them and they had no idea of what he meant.

Photo: Shutterstock

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