The title by which Jesus most commonly referred to Himself was not “Messiah” or “Christ,” It is interesting that, of all the things that Jesus of Nazareth could have called Himself, He most frequently chose the term “Son of Man”—interesting since, according to New Testament teaching, Jesus had no human father.
The Gospel according to Luke records that when Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus, was informed by an angel that she would become the mother of the Messiah, she was mystified regarding how this was to happen (since was a virgin). The angel said to her,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
Luke further comments on the beginning of Jesus’ humanity two chapters later, writing, “So Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years old. He was the son (as was supposed) of Joseph.” (Luke 3:23).
Matthew, also, meanwhile, takes great pains to communicate that Mary was not made pregnant by a man. He recorded,
Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way. While his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph, her husband to be, was a righteous man, and because he did not want to disgrace her, he intended to divorce her privately. When he had contemplated this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” This all happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: “Look! The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep he did what the angel of the Lord told him. He took his wife, but did not have marital relations with her until she gave birth to a son, whom he named Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25)
Could God Make Himself a Son of Man?
People who reject the account of Jesus being born of a virgin may believe that they are rejecting the matter on scientific grounds, thinking, “Women do not become pregnant without the involvement of a human male.” In reality, they are not drawing a scientific conclusion, but instead a philosophical conclusion.
You see, if there is, in fact, a God who created the universe and all the laws that govern how the universe functions, then it is nothing for the Creator to create a sperm cell out of nothing within the womb of one of His creatures. If as the Bible records, God spoke the universe into existence (Genesis 1:3; Hebrews 11:3), then God can speak a cell into existence. Or by the power of His will, God can cause a human egg to become a fertilized human egg with no human male involved. (Philippians 3:21)
This is a philosophical position that does no violence to the laws of nature. The laws of nature communicate to us that the universe had a beginning. And if the universe had a beginning, then it had a Cause. True, for the sake of argument, that Cause may or may not have been God. But it is not inconsistent with nature and it is not philosophically illogical to conclude that God exists as the First Cause of all things. Logically, scientifically, or historically, God is actually the best explanation for the beginning of the universe!
If God breathes a soul into the biological union of sperm and egg in the creation of a complete human being (Genesis 2:7; Psalm 139:13), then God can certainly breathe Himself into a fertilized human egg to become human Himself without diminishing His deity in the least. (Colossians 2:9)
So the Bible teaches that God willingly became one of us (Philippians 2:5-11) in order that He might do for us what we could never do for ourselves, namely, pay the penalty for our sins and restore us to eternal life. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:1-11)
Not an Issue of Science
In all our twentieth-century sophistication, if we reject this message and if we reject the Person and the work of Jesus Christ–the Son of God–on our behalf, then we, once again, really are not doing so on the basis of science. If we reject the “Son of Man,” then we do so on the basis of philosophy. If we reject the message itself as myth, then we are not doing so on the basis of good history or good forensics. If we reject the message as myth, we do so on the basis of preconceptions.
If we reject the message of salvation in Jesus as illogical, then we do not do so on the basis of superior intellectual skill. If we reject salvation in Jesus, we do so on the basis of a different set of premises or propositions which lead to a different conclusion. The logic of Christianity is not flawed.
Why in the world would anyone be turned off by the proposition that God Himself became human and that God is unashamed to become identified with the human race? Jesus Christ is not ashamed to call us His brothers. (Hebrews 2:11)
What amazing love of God! We, as a species, are lost and dying. God loves this species that He created for a special role in His universe. In taking the title, “Son of Man,” Jesus Christ communicates that God Himself, in His infinite power and limitless love, has come here and become one of us to rescue us from death. Why not let Him do so?
Jesus’ self-abasement does not mean that God would forever remain in a humbled human state. The source of the term “Son of Man,” which Jesus of Nazareth knew quite well, pulls back the proverbial curtain and discloses a fuller picture of the truth about the Son of Man. It says,
And with the clouds of the sky, one like a Son of Man was approaching. He went up to the Ancient of Days, and was escorted before him. To him was given ruling authority, honor, and sovereignty. All peoples, nations, and language groups were serving him. His authority is eternal and will not pass away. His kingdom will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)