Why did Jesus call Himself the Son of Man?

In the gospels Jesus often refers to Himself as the Son of Man.  In fact, it is His favorite title for himself.  In the gospel of John the title is used eighty-one times.  Here's an example.  "Truly I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man (Jn 1:51)."

Why did Jesus call Himself the Son of Man?

It is a reference to the prophecy of Daniel, in Daniel 7:13-14.  There Daniel foresees the coming Messiah, describing Him as one whose kingdom will encompass the whole earth, and whose reign will be everlasting.  Daniel refers to this important figure as the "son of man."

13 I continued watching in the night visions,
and suddenly one like a son of man
was coming with the clouds of heaven.
He approached the Ancient of Days
and was escorted before him.
14 He was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
so that those of every people,
nation, and language
should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that will not pass away,
and his kingdom is one
that will not be destroyed.

By adopting this title for Himself, and by making it His favorite title, Jesus was making a bold declaration to anyone with ears to hear.  He is the divine, eternal, Messiah-King.


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