Thought for the Week - 9th AprilPastor Gareth Watkins
“I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.”
Easter is upon us. It’s a time for all Christians to look again at the Easter story, what Christ means for us, what Christ has done for us, and to question ourselves. Are we thankful, grateful and appreciative for the phenomenal things Christ has done for in this season?
A lot of people don’t appreciate what Christ, the Son of Man, has done for us. What Christ has done not only affects us now, but affects us backwards in time and also forwards into history. When we consider Him, we should be able to bring our thanks, appreciation and gratitude for Christ, who calls Himself the Son of Man.
The verses above were written 600 years before Christ. Daniel saw these future things. He used the exact wording that Christ Himself would speak of Himself! When Christ spoke of Himself as the Son of Man, they knew exactly who He was – He was the one sent by God, called Ancient of Days, who’d have kingdom, glory and dominion over all nations. This man took exactly the place that God had ordained all those years before!
And now, in our day, this Christ is risen and ascended. He is given a position in Heaven. All the kingdoms and nations will serve Him. His dominion is forever and it will never pass away! It cannot be destroyed! The greatest miracle of all time – that the Messiah would come.
In Matthew 20: 28, Jesus spoke of Himself:
“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Was it an accident that He spoke of Himself as the Son of Man? Absolutely not! This is a God given title for Christ. Spoken of in the Old Testament, Christ takes on the mantle and authority which that the name brings to Him. That name belongs to Him.
We live such fast, furious lives, there comes a time when we need to stop and focus on this Son of Man who has given His life as a ransom for many! He is saying of Himself, that He is going to become a substitute. Something that belongs to someone else and not Him – He’ll ransom Himself on behalf of them and take what is due to them! What a miraculous thing! That this son of God should come and be a substitute and ransom for something He did not commit. It’s our sin, worldliness and rebellion to carry. But this Son of Man came to give Himself as a ransom for many!
He’s identifying Himself with you and me. Why should the son of God, the Son of Man, the Christ identify with you and me? He brings Himself to be part of mankind. He’s taking something that doesn’t belong to Him, because He hasn’t committed the sin that demands the payment. He’s identifying Himself with all the types of people you can think of.
He was there from the beginning of time! That word Son of Man in Aramaic means “Bar Enosh” which translates to “son of Adam”. It brings Christ right back to the Garden of Eden. He died for all sins from Adams time, to the times of the Prophets, to the time of the New Testament, right up to us! The Christ we have cannot be contained in a box! He is above it all.
Isaiah 53: 1-6
Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
These verses were written 800 years before Christ! They describe the details of the Son of Man. Christ fulfilled all these things! We read how He would be tender, acquainted with grief, despised and rejected. We read how the Lord would lay the sin of all onto Him. What an incredible passage describing what the Son of Man had to fulfill! Christ Himself had to fulfill all these things otherwise He wouldn’t have been the Christ.
Praise God that He came and fulfilled all these things! There is no other that can take us through these things… God laid on Him and it was His alone to accomplish! He was our substitute and our remedy. We come to a time when He says “it is finished” – there was no more to be done. The task that He had been given to do was finished. The only answer is the Son of Man! He is the one who’s come because God has laid on Him the sin of all.
Are we thankful? Are we grateful to this man? Do we appreciate Him as the Son of Man?
In Isaiah 57: 7-9 we read:
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
And they made His grave with the wicked –
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.”
He didn’t open His mouth because it was happening in the way that God had ordained it to happen. He was cut off from the land of the living. He had to die. He was fulfilling all the things that were ordained by God for the Son of Man.
The passage in Isaiah starts with “who will believe this report”. Do you believe in these facts? If so, are you then grateful for all the facts that apply to you? We’re in a fast food society today, but these are eternal matters! These are substantial foundations that hold the whole of humanity and things of eternity into perspective; our wickedness, our position before God. Are you willing to believe it or can you work out your problems for yourself? The solutions to our wickedness, sin, deceit and rebellion are not held within man. All the sins that we have are meant to be laid before Christ, because He is the Son of Man sent by God to take away the sins of the world.
He was wounded for our sin, not His. He was bruised for our rebellion, not His. He was whipped for our wickedness, not His. He was numbered with the transgressors unto death for our transgressions, not His. He paid those things in His body for you and me. We need to be appreciative, grateful and thankful.
In Matthew 26: 64 we read:
Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless,
I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man
sitting at the right hand of the Power,
and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
That scripture reverts exactly to that in Daniel! The whole story that God has for the purposes and will of man is all contained in here. Bar Enosh – the Son of Man – coming for all of humanity, from the beginning of time, to now, to the future when He comes on clouds of glory, bringing that ransom for you and me. We have no place in there unless it’s for Christ Himself, who can deliver us. There was no other good enough to pay the price for sin. The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of all. He is the one who was oppressed and afflicted. And He’s the one who’s coming on the clouds of glory.
Where do you stand within that story? Will you believe as the passage is written? Will you accept the details? Will you look again at your position before Christ in the midst of all of the Easter story?
There’s a wonderful Gospel that holds us tight. When troubles come, this is the place of strength in our lives. If we stray away from it, this is the time to reflect on what Christ has done, and bring ourselves back in this place… Christ is the answer!
I wish you a blessed Easter.