The Son of Man at the Right Hand of Power

[Jesus] remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’ ”

- Mark 14:61–62

Silent during most of the high priest’s show trial, Jesus did not answer when false witnesses testified against Him (Mark 14:53–61a). By this, our Lord fulfilled Isaiah 53:7 and its prophecy of the Suffering Servant’s silence while being taken to His death. One commentator notes that the silence of Jesus was His confession of His innocence, His acknowledgment that He had indeed done nothing worthy of death.

However, toward the end of His trial before the high priest, Caiaphas (Matt. 26:3), Jesus did respond to one of the questions asked of Him. Caiaphas demanded to know if Jesus did identify Himself as the Christ—the promised Jewish Messiah—and the “Son of the Blessed.” The word “Blessed” is a circumlocution, a way of referring to something or someone without using the actual name of that something or someone. Caiaphas used it in place of “God,” probably because first-century Jews were careful not to voice God’s name lest they somehow misuse it, even if only by accident. Upon hearing the question, Jesus answered with His own circumlocution, using “Power” in place of “God,” affirming that He did claim to be the Messiah and the Son of God. But Jesus also added that He was the Son of Man who would come with the clouds of heaven (Mark 14:61b–62).

Jesus’ use of “Son of Man” is significant, particularly when we consider that it was the title He most often used for Himself. In the book of Ezekiel, Ezekiel himself is frequently addressed as “son of man” (for example, Ezek. 2:1; 47:6), giving the title significance as a designation for one who exercises a prophetic ministry. Jesus’ use of “Son of Man” certainly does not discount its importance as a reference to one who is a prophet, but Jesus’ application of the title to Himself finds its roots primarily in Daniel 7:13–14. In that text, we read of “one like a son of man” who comes on the clouds of heaven and receives from the Ancient of Days—God—an “everlasting dominion” and indestructible kingdom. This “son of man” in Daniel 7 is distinguished from God, but there are hints that He is to be identified with God as well. After all, texts such as Psalm 145:13 explain that the Lord has an “everlasting kingdom” and enduring dominion. The New Testament’s plainer revelation of the Trinity makes it clearer that this “son of man” in Daniel 7 is, in fact, God incarnate. By calling Himself the “Son of Man,” Jesus was claiming to be God.

Coram Deo

Our estimation of Jesus should be no less than Jesus’ own estimation of Himself. Jesus presented Himself not merely as a great teacher or worker of miracles, though He was each of those. Instead, He revealed Himself to be God, the Creator of all things. As we tell others about Jesus, let us make sure that we affirm His deity.

Passages for Further Study

Ezekiel 3:1; 20:27
John 5:26–27
Acts 7:56
Revelation 1:9–18

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