884 What Did Jesus Say about Himself Pt.2

What Did Jesus Have To Say About...  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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In 2014, police officers in Tenerife, Spain, were alerted to the presence of a gorilla outside Loro Park zoo. The police sent a veterinarian over who thwarted the attempted zoo escape with a tranquilizer shot. The story spun in a different direction when the vet realized that the supposed gorilla was actually a human in a gorilla costume. Apparently, the zoo had been holding a gorilla escape drill. One of its workers had dressed in a gorilla costume and pretended to be an escaping gorilla. This would have been a hilarious case of mistaken identity except that the zoo later debunked the story. While they did agree that one of their staff members was shot by a veterinarian during a gorilla escape drill, they clarified that he was neither in a gorilla costume nor pretending to be a gorilla and had only been shot by mistake.
- Well, that’s what happens when you go monkeying around near zoos
- In this message today, we see another case of mistaken identity - people had a problem trying to identify Jesus
- They just couldn’t match Him up properly with what He claimed & with what He could do
- They had an identity in mind of what God’s Messiah should be, but were conflicted over Jesus

1. He Referred to Himself as the Son of Man

- If you recall from last week, I spoke about what is called, the Messianic secret & to why Jesus would tell demons and people to be quite & not tell others about Him & who they know Him to be
- At the wedding feast in Cana, they had run out of wine & Mary asks Jesus to help – do a miracle & assumingly provide the wine
- His response was that His “time had not yet come”
- He needed to spread the message about the kingdom & to do that freely so He could go from town to town & not get bogged down attending to all the individual needs of the people
- But when the right time had come & people had started hearing about Jesus & the Kingdom & even Gentiles had come & started to seek Him out there was no longer a need to keep His identity secret
John 12:20–23 NASB95
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; 21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
- The time was now right – the tide had turned & Jesus had propagated sufficient knowledge of Himself & His kingdom (the foundation had been laid) to carry out the next stage in the salvation plan of God
John 12:24–26 NASB95
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26 “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
- Here is a prediction that Jesus will die & in that death, He will bear much fruit
- But it is also a challenge to His followers that to love your life means to lose it for Jesus’ sake
- To hate your life in this world means you will keep it to everlasting life
- The point Jesus is making here is that to be His follower, you need to take the path He takes
- Not everyone is going to die for their faith – not everyone will be martyred
- But we all must die – die to the world & its ways – die to the self & its ways
- In this, we bear fruit for Jesus – we are fruitful when we die to self
John 12:27 NASB95
27 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
Q. Save Me from this hour – what is He in need of being saved from?
John 12:32–33 NASB95
32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.
- He has come to this hour – this painful & dreadful hour
- This was the time when Jesus would suffer & be lifted up on a cross to be crucified
- But this hour also brought a verdict & judgement down upon this godless & sin-filled world
- And the prince of this world was judged as well & cast off his throne
John 12:31 NASB95
31 “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
- Jesus broke the back of Satan when He died – for He died for us – He died as a sacrificial offering for the sin of the world
- It was a propitiatory sacrifice which meant that it became a dissolver of sins
- Think of it in terms of someone stealing your child & then demanding you pay a ransom price to get your child back safe & sound
- There is an exchange that happens – Jesus gives His life so that you can get yours
- Sin/s are ongoing offences against the holiness & goodness of God & His creation ordinances
- Those blots or sins cannot be swept under the carpet, they must be removed
- It is through Jesus death, that sin has been atoned for & removed
- He was “lifted up” on to the cross & because of that, He will draw all men & women unto Himself
Q. Why are they drawn to Him?
- Because the ruler of this world has been cast out – dethroned
- What does Satan have on those whose sins have been forgiven by the highest court in the universe & even beyond that!
- The living God has pronounced us forgiven, cleansed, freed from our sins – what has Satan got on us?
- Satan’s name means “accuser” (one of the meanings)
Revelation 12:9–10 NASB95
9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.
- Prior to Christ’s death, forgiveness was very shaky
- The animal sacrifices only accounted for one year’s worth of forgiveness of sin which means it had a very temporary & uncertain state about it
- The accuser, Satan, had a field day & people just gave into sin because there was so little hope
- It is that hope that we now have in Jesus Christ & His death for us that gives us great courage & sticking power to stay with Christ - thus, He draws all men & women to Himself!
- Not only is that true but the Spirit of God Himself indwells us & gives us the ability to stick & stay with Him
- No wonder Paul can say…
Romans 8:31–34 NASB95
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
- Now I’ve gone off on a tangent, but it has been a good one at that
- But I want to look now at the response of the people to Him saying that He will be lifted up because to be “lifted up” was a common expression “to be crucified”
John 12:34 NASB95
34 The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”
Q. Yes, who is this Son of Man?
- Jesus called Himself the “Son of Man” more often than anything else which means that it was His favourite designation of himself
- He refers to Himself as the Son of Man – 76 times – in all the Gospels
- When Jesus refers to Himself in this way it is, predominantly, in the apocalyptic passages, like Matt. 24-26
- Apocalyptic passages are those which talk about His second coming & judgement upon the earth
- 2 things we need to explore:
1. Why did Jesus chose to refer to Himself as the Son of Man?
2. Why did the crowd get confused with Jesus associating the Son of Man with being “lifted up” on a cross?
- The Son of Man can be an ordinary phrase which describes someone as a weak & frail human being – Ezekiel is called, by God, “son of man”
- He uses that for Ezekiel because throughout the book it is seen that man is weak & frail yet God’s Spirit is powerful
- What man cannot achieve God’s Spirit can
- But this is not why Jesus describes Himself as “Son of Man”
- Son of Man also occurs in the book of Daniel & there in Daniel, this Son of Man is an apocalyptic figure who has authority to make judgement
Daniel 7:13–14 NASB95
13 “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 14 “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.
- Even Jewish commentators recognise Him as an apocalyptic figure
Human being, lit. “son of man,” which in the Bible is idiomatic for human being (Dan. 8:17; Ezek. 2:1; Job 25:6). Here, however, the celestial being is like a human being, i.e., has a human countenance. For the author it most likely represents a heavenly figure who will exercise judgment, perhaps Michael. Christian tradition, especially in the Gospels, saw this as a prediction of Jesus as a heavenly “son of man.”1
- They take a stab at the archangel Michael – seriously!!!
- He receives an eternal kingdom & is entrusted with divine judgement?
- Angels don’t make judgements – they may carry out divine judgements, but they don’t make them or decide them!!!
- This is a way-serious departure from what they should know
- Since when has an angel ever received a kingdom with people as his subjects?
- Yet, the Messiah does – One in the line of David & One who is at the right hand of God
- Jesus is this Son of Man spoken of in Daniel’s prophecy & it is this Jesus who is endowed with having a dominion & an eternal kingdom
- He renders decisions and makes judgements
- Whenever Jesus’ authority was challenged, He would maintain that He has authority as the Son of Man
Matthew 9:2–7 NASB95
2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? 6 “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he got up and went home.
- Here is the authority of the Son of Man to make judgement
- In making judgement, you can either acquit or condemn
- Likewise, when challenged over the Sabbath day traditions of the Pharisees, Jesus declared to them that the Son of Man is Lord, even of the Sabbath
- Jesus as the Son of Man is the One who is coming with the clouds of heaven
- He is this apocalyptic figure – a heavenly figure – who enters heaven & receives an everlasting kingdom
- The apostle John picks this up well by noting the contrast
John 3:13 NASB95
13 “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.
- He is the One from the prophecy & vision of Daniel the prophet some 4-500 yrs before the time of Christ
- Jesus talks about His kingdom as present & also as yet to come
- He is coming again to defeat death – to put all His enemies under His feet - & will establish resurrection life for His people
- But in a very real sense, His presence & His kingdom is very much already here now
- God rules in the hearts & lives of His people
- No one can make you do things that God does not approve – true?
- That means that His rule is being appropriated here on earth, now!
- But of course, we are still urged to pray, “Your Kingdom come”
- And we know “every knee should bow”, but then “every knee will bow”
- Jesus spoke of Himself as coming on the clouds of heaven
- No one knows the day nor the hour - & His coming will be like the lightning that flashes from one end of the sky to the other
- No one will miss Him & it will be speedy – no one will have time to say to themselves, “Oh, I better now believe & obey Jesus” - because it will be all too late
- He is not coming to give people another chance or opportunity
- He is coming to grant deliverance & resurrected life to His people - those who have turned to Him now - & to judge with condemnation those who either do not believe or outright reject Him
Matthew 24:36–44 NASB95
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37 “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 “Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 “Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. 42 “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
- The 2nd question is: “Why did the crowd get confused with Jesus associating the Son of Man with being “lifted up” on a cross”?
- The figure of the Son of Man in the minds of the Rabbi’s prior to the time of Jesus is that this figure was also a Messianic figure
- The anointed One, the King, ruler, who will break the rebellion of the nations with a rod of Iron – like smashing pottery
- He, like the Son of Man, has an everlasting kingdom
- If this “Son of Man” was going to be lifted up on a cross, then pray tell, who is this fellow?
- How can One who has an everlasting kingdom end up dead on a cross!
- “Perhaps, the Son of Man you are talking about is not the Son of Man that we’re familiar with”
- Who is this Son of Man – are we talking about the same character?
- Again, I’ve mentioned this before – the Jews could only conceive of the Messiah as in one character type – an all-conquering super hero who will conquer nations
- I can understand or sympathise with their desires for a political kingdom – that’s their history & their history of the Lord’s working in that way
- But God had other plans - & often the Jews got it wrong
- They loved to hear what we know now as the false prophets, yet refused to listen to the true prophets of God which – note this – held the very, smallest minority view
- Remember, Elijah at Mt. Carmel – He was outnumbered at least 800 to 1
- The problem they had was refusing to reconcile Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering servant of Lord with the coming of the warrior-king
- Understandably, I suppose, it would have been difficult for them seeing how these 2 figures are rather diametrically apart
- However, there is a stubbornness in many Jews that refused to see Jesus as anything but a phoney
- To the church at Thyatira, Jesus says that they will get to share His rule if they overcome & stay faithful to Him
Revelation 2:25–27 NASB95
25 ‘Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 26 ‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;
- It is clear that when Jesus comes again, He will NOT be coming as the suffering servant of the Lord of Isaiah’s prophecies
- He will be coming as that mighty warrior-king that the Jews were looking for in the 1st century
- He will come as “Son of Man” & will judge the nations bringing both acquittal to those who are found in Him & condemnation upon all who have, & are, rejecting Him

​2. He Invites His Disciples & People To Decide

- A warrior king doesn’t give people an opportunity to decide on whether to accept His rule or not – it’s His way or the highway – or much worse
- He hasn’t come yet as that warrior king
- When Jesus does come again, He will come as that mighty warrior-ruler
- This is the essence of this statement here in the book of Revelation...
Revelation 1:7 NASB95
7 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.
- It’s the kind of grief a nation has when it has been thoroughly defeated in war
- Much like Japan V-J day & Germany V-E day
- They were humiliated, defeated & would now pay a heavy price
- When Jesus returns, there will be great mourning amongst the nations of all those who have rejected Him
Robert Mounce says that it describes... “the impending advent of the victorious Christ and the response of a hostile world to the revelation of his universal sovereignty”2
- Unfortunately, we have been tainted much in the same way the Jews were tainted
- They only saw a Messiah as a warrior-king & missed Jesus, the suffering servant of the Lord
- We see the coming Jesus only as a loving suffering Saviour – a suffering servant - willing to forgive & restore
- But like the Jews, we are projecting that version wrongly & are missing the truth - that He will come as a powerful, conquering ruler & will be judge of all the earth
- We need to appreciate mercy & grace while we have it, before it is too late & it is withdrawn for there is a day coming when it will be withdrawn – but not for those who have already submitted to the Messiah
- At present, people have a choice & no one is forced to submit to the king
- That in itself becomes problematic because not many want to take it seriously
- We are like that – we act on something – usually & only when there is a deadline
- If we don’t see a deadline, we don’t act on it
- Jesus said that He will come like a thief in the night -unexpectantly
Matthew 16:27 NASB95
27 “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.
- As a man thinks so He is
- As a man believes so He does
- Faith is trust in the Person of Jesus, but if you trust, you will obey
- If there is no obedience, then there must be cause to question such faith
- The choice for us is on-going & even more so in a day when our faith is being seriously challenged by a society growing increasingly ungodly
Mark 8:38 NASB95
38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
- We have a challenge to stay true to our king & to not disown Him
- We strive for the finish line & with the help of the Lord, we will get there
- We are already there, but not yet – keep persevering
Matthew 24:30–31 NASB95
30 “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
- This is what we look to & long for
- When we are gathered together from the whole world to meet Jesus Christ – who for us is not to be feared - because, in one sense, we are the apple of His eye – we are His called & chosen – what a day that will be!
1Adele Berlin, Marc Zvi Brettler, and Michael Fishbane, Eds., The Jewish Study Bible, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 1656–1657.
2Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 50.
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