25 Names of Christ: Son of Man

The title ‘Son of Man’ is found eighty-three times in the New Testament Gospels and is a name that Jesus used frequently to describe himself. Like with many of Jesus’ names, there are more ways than one in which to interpret and derive meaning from the title.

On the one hand, the name affirms Christ’s mortality; His ability to die, inherited from His mortal mother, Mary. It reminds us that he was able to experience all of the things that we, as humans, experience.

In a revelation given to Joseph Smith following months of incarceration in Liberty Jail, the Lord refers to some of the (very) heavy challenges that Joseph had faced as well as some that he may face in the future. After describing these tribulations, which sound terrifying and overwhelming., the Lord reminds Joseph that “The Son of Man hath descended below them all.” (D&C 122:8)

In vision, the Prophet Nephi was shown ‘the condescension of God’ by which the ‘Son of the Eternal Father’ was born to Mary ‘after the manner of the flesh’ and ‘went forth among the children of men’. So, the ‘Son of God’ became the ‘Son of Man’ and had a mortal experience. (See 1 Nephi 11)

At the same time, Jesus’ title ‘Son of Man’ references his divine sonship. In the Book of Moses, we read “Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ” (Moses 6:57).

So the title ‘Son of Man’ speaks both to the Savior’s mortality and humanity as well as his immortality and divinity. Both of these aspects of Christ’s nature are vital and qualify Him alone to ‘succor his people’ (Alma 7:12) and to fulfill His role as Savior and Redeemer. President Russel M. Nelson taught “His mission was the Atonement. That mission was uniquely His. Born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father, He was the only one who could voluntarily lay down His life and take it up again”.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland adds: “It is the belief of the faithful that this baby boy born in Bethlehem was the son of Mary, a mortal woman more highly favored by that role than any mother could possibly be favored in any other way. But more singular than the motherhood of a mortal woman was the fatherhood of an immortal, divine, glorified Man—Elohim, God the Eternal Father, the Man of Holiness.”

In the Hymn ‘Beautiful Savior’, an unknown 12th century author penned these words:

Beautiful Savior!

Lord of the nations!

Son of God and Son of Man!

Thee will I honor, praise, and give glory,

Give praise and glory evermore!

Sources:

Russel M. Nelson–His Mission and Ministry

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/1999/12/his-mission-and-ministry

Jeffrey R. Holland, Witness for His Names, Deseret Book 2019

Related Links:

Beautiful Savior–Sung by the Tabernacle Choir

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