Why did Jesus call himself the Son of Man?
Jesus was in the habit of calling himself the “Son of Man.” Throughout his ministry he often called himself this in many occasions. But there is significance to the reason why he used this term.
Son of Man comes from passages like Daniel 7:13-14 and Psalm 110. Daniel 7:13-14 speaks of a messianic figure, a king, who is given dominion and authority over the world. He comes in the clouds through one of Daniel’s night visions.
But the important thing to notice in that passage is that this Son of Man is given a kingdom that will never end or be destroyed. The everlasting kingdom Daniel refers to is the one that Jesus rules over at the end of the world.
Jesus used “Son of Man” because it points to his eternal nature as part of the Godhead as well as his kingdom that will never end or be destroyed. Anything that speaks to his divine power and authority may have “Son of Man” nearby in the Gospels.
Psalm 110 may be a supporting context for the Messiah as kingly and priestly offices. This is one of the reasons we point to the Messiah as a prophet, priest, and king. We get the prophet idea from when David said a prophet greater than him would arise (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18).
The prophets and wisdom and poetic literature often refer to the Son of Man. The term was greatly enhanced when Enoch used it in his book to increase expectations of an apocalyptic figure that would bring salvation.
The Son of Man was seen as the ultimate king that was worthy of worship instead of the Babylonian and Assyrian kings in the exile in Daniel 7. It could’ve been something like, “the ultimate human being” or “the representative of humanity.” The idea was that this messianic figure was a human but different from the rest of humanity.
Jesus used “Son of Man” to refer to himself especially as this King that would go through suffering but would have ultimate authority. He spoke of his suffering that would happen upon the cross but also to his authority over all things.