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Anne Van Tilburg wrote:

Hi Mike,

  • Can you please explain why Jesus is called Son of Man?


  { Can you please explain why Jesus is called Son of Man? }

Mary Ann replied:

Hi Anne,

Briefly, there are two reasons.

  1. First, it is a Messianic title, from the Book of Daniel, a title which both expresses and conceals His equality with God.
  2. Second, it expresses Jesus' identification with the human race, his work as the new Adam in saving our fallen nature.

Hope this helps,

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Hi Anne,

Just to add to what Mary Ann has said, here are the first five instances of the term Son of Man from the Catechism.

It's probably best to read each within their proper context.

Taken from Article I

"I Believe In God The Father Almighty, Creator Of Heaven And Earth"

I. The Angels

Christ "with all his angels"

331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him. . "They belong to him because they were created through and for him: "for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him." They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?"

Taken from Article 2

"And In Jesus Christ, His Only Son, Our Lord"

II. Christ

440 Jesus accepted Peter's profession of faith, which acknowledged him to be the Messiah, by announcing the imminent Passion of the Son of Man. He unveiled the authentic content of his messianic kingship both in the transcendent identity of the Son of Man "who came down from heaven", and in his redemptive mission as the suffering Servant: "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Hence the true meaning of his kingship is revealed only when he is raised high on the cross. Only after his Resurrection will Peter be able to proclaim Jesus' messianic kingship to the People of God: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."

Taken from Article 3

"He Was Conceived By The Power Of The Holy Spirit, And Born Of The Virgin Mary"

I. Why Did The Word Become Flesh?

460 The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature": "For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of Man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God." "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God." "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."

Taken from Article 5

"He Descended Into Hell. On The Third Day He Rose Again"

II. The Resurrection - A Work Of The Holy Trinity

649 As for the Son, he effects his own Resurrection by virtue of his divine power. Jesus announces that the Son of Man will have to suffer much, die, and then rise. Elsewhere he affirms explicitly: "I lay down my life, that I may take it again. . . I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." "We believe that Jesus died and rose again."

III. The Meaning And Saving Significance Of The Resurrection

653 The truth of Jesus' divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection. He had said: "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he." The Resurrection of the crucified one shows that he was truly I AM, the Son of God and God himself. So St. Paul could declare to the Jews: "What God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, 'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'" Christ's Resurrection is closely linked to the Incarnation of God's Son, and is its fulfillment in accordance with God's eternal plan.

Hope this helps,


Bob replied:


The title Son of Man may seem odd to you and me, but to Jesus' followers there was a significance already to the title. The expression is all over the Old Testament, particularly in Ezekiel and Daniel (cf. Daniel 7:13), and often denotes a Messianic description. In short, by referring to himself as the Son of Man Jesus is connecting himself to an anticipated figure that denotes the Messiah.

The title also points to the profound point of His unity with us. He does not go around declaring himself the Son of Man, but rather something more akin to one of us. It is a title wrapped in humility.

One further thought . . .

For someone like you or me being a son of man is hardly unique. That is the condition by which we all exist. However, should you take someone from another plane of existence and distinguish him from all others by making him also a son of man, then you have a distinguishing characteristic.

Therefore, from the realm of those that exist wholly in spirit, one who becomes incarnate is clearly distinguishable. This title, looked at from the vantage point of the heavenly host, is not merely humbling, but awe inspiring and virtually inconceivable. A veritable stumbling block for Satan and his minions.

Thanks for the question.

Peace and God bless.

Bob Kirby

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