John 12:34 NIV
34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
Originally wanted to go over this verse, then the next two, and follow up with a few more. But there is so much to discuss on this verse alone in preparation for what follows, it is our single verse for today.
First, we have the declarative statement, We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever which precedes the first question, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? And then the second question, Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” So, let’s discuss each in turn.
About what they had heard from the law, Guzik writes, The people had been taught only the passages from the law (the Old Testament) which spoke of the triumph of the Messiah. They were mostly unaware of the passages that spoke of His suffering (such as Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53). It made them wonder if Jesus was really the Messiah, the Son of Man. Guzik follows this up with a quote from Clarke that addresses what they had heard from the law. Clarke wrote, There were several passages that spoke of the perpetuity of his reign, as Isaiah 9:7; Ezekiel 37:25; Daniel 7:14, they probably confounded the one with the other, and thus drew the conclusion, The Messiah cannot die; for the Scripture hath said, his throne, kingdom, and reign shall be eternal. Thus the crowd that had greeted Jesus with cries of “Hosana, Hosana” clearly wanted a military conqueror of some sort, not someone leading them to spiritual freedom, freedom from sin.
It boils down to Who is this ‘Son of Man’? The questions and the nature of them show they are unsure of their belief in Him as the Messiah. It is interesting that this question was likely asked on Wednesday halfway between His greeting of Hosanas as He entered Jerusalem and the cries of Crucify Him at His trial. Everything was volatile and fluid.
Yet it was Jesus who self-identified as Son of Man. MacLaren’s Expositions notes, Now one thing to observe about this name is that it is never found upon the lips of any but Jesus Christ. No man ever called him the Son of Man (bar this question) whilst He was upon earth, and only once do we find it applied to Him in the rest of Scripture, and that is on the occasion on which the first martyr, Stephen, dying at the foot of the old wall, saw ‘the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ MacLaren goes on to add, The name Son of Man, whatever more it means, declares the historical fact of His Incarnation, and the reality and genuineness, the completeness and fullness, of His assumption of humanity. And later, Then the same expression is employed on occasions when our Lord desires to emphasise the completeness of His participation in all our conditions. As, for instance, ‘the Son of Man came eating and drinking,’ knowing the ordinary limitations and necessities of corporeal humanity; having the ordinary dependence upon external things; nor unwilling to taste, with pure and thankful lip, whatever gladness may be found in man’s path through the supply of natural appetites.
Bottom Line: Jesus, the sinless man, fully man and fully God, died for our sins by choice. He felt all the pain any human would feel, yet out of love He died as a ransom for our sins.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Jesus is Your Son and was also fully human so His sacrifice on the cross would take on the punishment for all of mankind so we could turn to Him, repent of our sins as we believe in what He did for us through Your mercy and Grace. We are so very thankful. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton in Beavercreek