Sermon No: 125504-The Son of Man

SERMON TOPIC: The Son of Man

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 26 December 2021


Sermon synopsis: We might be tempted to think that Jesus somehow had an unfair advantage over us.
But he was truly a man and faced the same challenges we do.
He was born as a helpless baby dependent on his parents.


Luke 2:1-13 (NIV) In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world … And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God…

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.


Despite his humble birth in terms of human standards, God’s very angels celebrate Jesus’ arrival. They do this to announce that he is the Son of God.

Heb 1:5-6 (NIV) For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

So the Son of God was taking on flesh to also become the Son of Man.

John 1:1, 14 (NIV) … the Word was God … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.


The OT prophet Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem:

Micah 5:2 (NASB) “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will come forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His times of coming forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”


But Mary, pregnant with Jesus, lived not in Bethlehem, but in Nazareth.

Luke 1:26-27 (NIV) In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

So how would God effect the fulfilment of Micah’s prophecy?


The answer was the census of Emperor Augustus (63 BC – 14 AD).

Octavian was the adopted son of Julius Caesar. The Roman Senate formally deified Julius Caesar in 42 BC, and Caesar Octavian (later called ‘Augustus’) henceforth became Divi filius (“son of a god”).

son of a god


Jesus of course is known as the “Son of God”.

Mark 1:1 (NIV) The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

So twice within the span of about 70 years two men would be acclaimed first as the “son of a god”, and then as “Son of God”. But Augustus Caesar, the man the Romans claimed as the “son of a god”, imposes a census along with all the associated bureaucracy, that will force Joseph and Mary to return to their home town of Bethlehem.

son of a god

Son of God

So God uses the rival “son of a god” as the very instrument to ensure that the true “Son of God” is born in Bethlehem in order to fulfil prophecy. So the census reminds us that Jesus is the SON OF GOD.

son of a god

Son of God



But the census also shows us that Jesus was the SON OF MAN. He shared in our humanity and was numbered and counted with men.

Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV)… Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.


Interestingly while today, it is a common heresy to deny the deity of Jesus (that he was God), the earliest Gnostic heresies of the 2nd to 4th century often denied his humanity.

E.g. Docetism was a Gnostic doctrine which held that Christ’s body was not human but a phantom and that therefore his sufferings were only apparent.

In modern times we are often so busy defending the fact that Jesus was God, we again forget that he was truly human.


How did Jesus identify with humans? He did it in the following ways:

In his Birth

In his Baptism

In his Body, mind and soul limitations

In his Bereavement and suffering

In his Burial (death)


A census is the procedure of systematically calculating, acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. (https:// wiki/ Census)

Some census form in the first century Roman archives recorded the fact that a Jewish boy called Yeshua (Jesus) was born in Bethlehem.

Justin Martyr (2nd cent) wrote to the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius: “Now there is a village in the land of the Jews, thirty-five stadia from Jerusalem, in which Jesus Christ was born, as you can ascertain also from the registers of the taxing made under Cyrenius, your first procurator in Judaea.” (First Apology, 34)

Tertullian (2nd – 3rd cent) writes of “… His enrolment in the census of Augustus - that most faithful witness of the Lord’s nativity, kept in the archives of Rome?” (Against Marcion, 4:7)


As the sinless Son of God, Jesus had no need to be baptised for repentance.

But as the Son of Man he would identify with sinful men in order “to fulfil all righteousness”. (Matt 3:13-15)

I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?

Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.


We might be tempted to think that Jesus somehow had an unfair advantage over us.

But he was truly a man and faced the same challenges we do.

He was born as a helpless baby dependent on his parents.

He had flesh and bones.

Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have. (Luke 24:39)

He had blood.

This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:20)

He got hungry. (“After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” - Matt 4:2, NIV)

He got thirsty. (On the cross Jesus cried, “I am thirsty.” - John 19:28, NIV)

He got tired. When he passed by the Samaritan town of Sychar, “Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well”. (John 4:6, NIV)

He needed sleep. During the storm on the sea of Galilee “Jesus was sleeping” (Matt 8:24).

On the way to Golgotha, Jesus initially carried his own cross (John 19:17) but the soldiers subsequently commandeered Simon of Cyrene and “forced him to carry the cross” (Mark 15:21), presumably because Jesus was tired.

His knowledge was limited. (“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son…” - Matt 24:36, NIV)


He was troubled at the thought of the future.

Matt 26:37-38 (NIV) He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”


He got mentally and spiritually tired:

Luke 5:15-16 (NIV) Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Jesus felt the pressure of always having to deal with people’s problems. Just like us – he sometimes needed a break from people and the constant busyness. He found it necessary to maintain his prayer life and needed to escape to spend quality time with the Father.

He what it was like to work for a living.

Mark 6:3 (NIV) “Isn’t this the carpenter?”

His earthly father, Joseph, was also a carpenter, which means that Jesus was likely His father’s apprentice. It is bizarre to think that God Incarnate was taught to build things by a human man, but it seems that in this, as in all other aspects of His earthly life, Jesus submitted Himself to the humility of being fully human. (https:// was-Jesus-a-carpenter.html)

He knew the burden of supporting a family…

… and worrying about his mother’s provision.

John 19:26-27 (NIV) When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.


Just as all men suffer, so too Jesus shared in the human experience. He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa 53:3).

He knew what it was like to stand beside a father’s grave. (it’s clear that Joseph had died by the time Jesus was crucified).

And he wept when he saw the sorrow of his friends, Mary and Martha, upon the death of their brother Lazarus:

John 11:33-35 (NIV) When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled… Jesus wept.

He suffered in temptation.

Heb 2:18 (NIV) Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

He what it was like to have a ministry without the support of his family, for “even his own brothers did not believe in him” (John 7:5).

Mark 3:20-21 (NIV) Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

He understood what it felt like to be rejected because “He was despised and rejected by mankind” (Isa 53:3) and “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” (John 1:11).

He faced rejection from his hometown.

Mark 6:3 (NIV) “… Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him…

And he wept over his beloved city of Jerusalem when they rejected him. (Matt 23:37)

He knew what it was like to be betrayed by a friend.

Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? Do what you came for, friend. (Luke 22:48, Matt 26:50)

He could suffer physically and die.

Matt 16:21 (NIV) From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things … and that he must be killed


Just as all men die, Jesus too identified with humans in succumbing to death.

And his death was unfair – he died like a common criminal though he was neither violent nor deceitful.

Isa 53:9 (NIV) He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.


So why did Jesus become a man? He was born to die. He became a man so that he “might taste death for everyone.”

Heb 2:9 (NIV) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

He bore our pain, sorrow and sin so that we could experience peace and healing.

Isa 53:4-5 (NIV) Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Now maybe you have some embarrassing relatives or family members you are ashamed of?


But Jesus is not ashamed to call us his brothers.

Heb 2:11-12 (NIV) Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.”


In order to save us, Jesus had to be part of the same family.

In fact, in the NT Jesus is referred to as:

Son of God: 38 times (most of these references by others)

Son of Man: 84 times (most of these references by himself).

If Jesus is not ashamed to call us his brothers, how then can we be ashamed to call him our brother and Saviour? And so Jesus said:

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” (Matt 10:32-33, NIV)

At Christmas time we are reminded of Jesus’ humanity when we focus on the fact that once he was just a baby in a manger.

He came as a child so that he could face and conquer every challenge common to humanity.

We trust him with our lives because he is God. But we love him more because we know that - like us - he too was once a tiny helpless baby.

Had Jesus been God only, his sacrifice on the cross would have been effortless and easy.

Had he been man only, his sacrifice would have had no power; he would have just been a persecuted prophet and martyr like many others.


But he was both man and God – able to suffer when faced with a cruel death, but also able to redeem sinners.

Heb 2:14-17 (NIV) Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death… For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.


Why is Christmas one of the most popular holidays? Not only is it the celebration of Jesus’ birth, Christmas gives people a sense of belonging—an identity. It reminds us that we have a family we belong to. On Christmas, we give gifts to our children, parents, siblings, relatives and even friends.

Maybe you don’t have an earthly family? The birth of Jesus reminds us that we belong to a heavenly family. Jesus was born into our family, calls us “brothers” and proclaims to us that we have God as our Father.

Hark! The herald angels sing “Glory to the newborn king Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Joyful, all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies With angelic host proclaim “Christ is born in Bethlehem!"

Hark! The herald angels sing “Glory to the newborn king!“

Christ by highest heaven adored, Christ the everlasting Lord! Late in time behold him come, Offspring of a virgin’s womb Veiled in flesh the godhead see, Hail the incarnate deity Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel

Hail the heav’n-born prince of peace! Hail the son of righteousness! Light and life to all he brings, Risen with healing in his wings Mild he lays his glory by, Born that man no more may die Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http://

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.