We continue through our careful reading of John 6 as an intermission from Mark’s gospel, and on Trinity 9 in Year B the gospel reading is John 6.24–35. Having romped through 21 verses last week, which include the Fourth Gospel’s lengthier version of the feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus walking on water (though in a brief summary), we are slowing down to consider the first 11 verses of the ‘bread of life’ dialogue that, uniquely, follows the feeding in this gospel.
For some reason, the lectionary omits the connective verses John 6.22–23. They begin with a characteristic temporal marker τῇ ἐπαύριον ‘on the next day’, which Matthew and Mark only use once each, but the Fourth Gospel uses particularly in chapter 1 to count through the first seven symbolic days of Jesus’ early ministry. (The work does not occur anywhere in Luke, but frequently in Acts as it tracks the activities of the Peter and Paul.)
These omitted verses also give some careful geographical detail, again characteristic of this gospel, which would have been impossible to include by someone not familiar with the region on first-hand terms (see the section on topography from p 95 in The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple by Richard Bauckham). The repeated references to ‘the other side’ (John 6.22, 25) refer to the north-eastern and north-western shores, rather than suggesting anyone has crossed the centre of the lake, and as well as pointing to topography also assume that we have read Mark’s account of these events.
In the synoptics gospels, Jesus is portrayed as dynamic and active, travelling around and actively seeking out ‘the lost’, especially in the first half of his ministry, in Galilee (‘The Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost’, Luke 19.10). By contrast, in the Fourth Gospel Jesus doesn’t seek people out, but remains a centre of stillness, and at times even elusive (‘You will seek me but you will not find me’ John 7.34), as others seek him.
This question—”Whom do you seek?“—runs through the Gospel of John like a light red thread…The thread started running with the very first words Jesus spoke in this Gospel, which formed a question directed at the disciples of John the Baptist that started to follow after him. To them, Jesus said, “What do you seek?” (1:38). When Jesus utters an even more personal form of this question to Mary Magdalene, it is not the second but rather the third time this basic question has appeared. In between the first and the last is the question of Jesus not to his would-be disciples, not to this first witness of his Resurrection, but to the band of soldiers his betrayer has gathered. To them, too, he asks, “Whom do you seek?” (18:4).
When they find him, there is no suggestion that they thought he had arrived there miraculously. Just as only a few were aware of how the water became wine in John 2, so only the ‘insiders’ knew he had walked on the water.
Jesus is addressed as ‘Rabbi’ (literally, ‘my great one’ in Hebrew) seven times in this gospel (John 1.38, 49, 3.2, 4.31, here in John 6.25, 9.2 and 11.8), and additionally John the Baptist is given this title in John 3.26. It functions as a title of respectively address, often in the context of those using it not understanding what Jesus is doing or what is happening; there is no suggestion that it was a formal title implying training and recognition; Jesus is not a member of the scribal elite. On the first occasion of its use, the writer explains its meaning (John 1.38), reminding us that this gospel is both rooted in a particular cultural, geographical and linguistic context and that this needs translating for a different and wider world. Translation is always central to the task of missional proclamation.
Once again, the enigmatic Jesus of the Fourth Gospel refuses to give an answer to a direct question. Instead, he responds with one of his ‘Amen, amen…’ sayings which pepper this gospel 25 times. The singular form ‘Amen I say to you…’ occurs frequently in Matthew, often in Mark and occasionally in Luke; like other uses of Aramaic terms in the gospels, it suggests an account of the ipsissima verba, the actual words of Jesus in Aramaic (alongside ‘Talitha cumi’ in Mark 5.41, Jesus’ address of God as ‘Abba’, and his cry from the cross ‘Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani’ in Matt 27.45). The Fourth Gospel doubles the term, and it is impossible to know whether this is a faithful account of Jesus’ actual use which has been simplified elsewhere, or a drawing out of Jesus’ concern for truth which forms a key theme in this gospel.
It might be rather surprising that Jesus uses this stern introduction to what appears to be a mundane saying, essentially, ‘You have not yet understood the meaning of the feeding of the 5,000’. But in this gospel, there is a repeated contrast between the mundane and the spiritual, expressed most frequently in the double meanings of so many words and sayings. Light, dark, seeing, bread, night—all these have a symbolic significance pointing to spiritual reality, and the crucial division in the narrative is between those who can see it and those who cannot. Although the crowds saw that Jesus provided bread and fish, they did not see this as a sign pointing to who Jesus really was. The theme of seeing and not seeing will be picked up and developed in detail in chapter 9, the healing of the man born blind.
The contrast between the mundane and the eternal is expressed by Jesus in the contrast between the ‘food that perishes’ with the ‘food that abides to eternal life’. These terms are loaded with significance; in John 3.16 those who believe in God’s only son do not ‘perish’, and whoever wants to live must ‘abide’ in the true vine in John 15.4. In this sense, you are what you eat: eat food that perishes, and you will perish; eat food that abides to eternal life, and you will have eternal life.
Jesus uses the term ‘work’ as a metaphor for seeking or striving, and, again characteristic of this gospel, the next response of the people doesn’t follow on logical from Jesus comment so much as hangs on the repetition of a particular term, ‘What must we do to be doing the works of God?’ Since eating food is closely connected with believe in the only Son of God, it is not surprising that Jesus transforms the language of ‘work’ in the language of ‘belief’. There is here a quite strong connection with Pauline theology; as John Ziesler has commented (Pauline Christianity) for Paul faith is not a ‘thing’, but simply an acceptance and receiving of what God has offered, not in any sense something we ‘do’.
The title ‘Son of Man’ occurs 13 times in this gospel in 12 verses. It ultimately derives from the vision of Daniel 7, when a figure ‘like a son of man’ is lifted up to the throne of God and given an everlasting kingdom. It begins its life as a Hebrew and Aramaic idiom for a vulnerable human figure, and signifies personified Israel. But the term has now taken on a life of its own (whilst not leaving this origin behind) and is used by Jesus in the gospels both to signify his own vulnerable humanity (‘they will hand over the Son of Man to be crucified…’) but also to claim he is the true Israel, who after suffering will be exalted to the throne of God in the Ascension. The Fourth Gospel again appears to assume that we will be familiar with this term from its frequent use in the Synoptics. But within this gospel it is associated with access to God’s heavenly presence (in John 1.51 and John 3.13, 14), Jesus being glorified and lifted up, but paradoxically by his crucifixion (John 8.28, 12.23, 34, John 13.31) and bringing life to others by his death (John 6.53).
The idea of Jesus being ‘sealed’ by God is slightly unusual, though it has already occurred in a metaphorical sense in John 3.33. The NIV and other ETs interpret the meaning as ‘a seal of approval’, suggesting God’s affirmation of Jesus. ‘The term is found in commercial documents among the papyrus where it denotes the sealing of letters and sacks to guarantee that no-one tampers with the contents’ (Kruse, TNTC, p 134). It is clearly used in this sense (both literally and figuratively) in Matt 27.66, 2 Cor 1.22, Eph 4.30, Rev 20.3 and (negatively) in Rev 22.10. But it is hard to completely separate this from the language of sealing in Eph 1.13 and Rev 7.3, where there seems to be a broader sense, and the language of Jesus as the ‘image’ of God, who reflects the nature of his character (‘Whoever has seen me has seen the Father’, John 14.9).
It seems odd, in narrative terms, that his interlocutors then ask for a sign—given that Jesus has just fed 5,000 people! This fits within the Fourth Gospel as pointing to the obtuse nature of ‘the Jews’ (often meaning those who refuse to believe in him, or those Judeans in the south, or the leaders of the people) who will not recognise the miracles/signs that Jesus does, and will not believe the claims Jesus makes. But it also fits with the dynamic in the synoptics where the people ‘demand a sign’ which Jesus refuses to give (Matt 12.39). Again, the repetition of the term ‘work’ for such a sign links this comment with the previous exchange on both sides.
There is no surprise with the link to the Mosaic episode of manna in the wilderness. As we noted last week, connections with Moses and the wilderness abound: Jesus has gone up on a mountain; the people are gathered in a desert place (according to the parallel we have read in Mark); there is a need for feeding, and no obvious way to provide; and Jesus is recognised as a ‘prophet like Moses’.
The quotation from the Scriptures (‘As it is written…’) appears to be a paraphrase of a combination of Ex 16.4, 15 and Ps 78.24. The language of ‘food’ (βρῶσις) has now been replaced with the term ‘bread’ (ἄρτος), demonstrating (contrary to our assumption) their equivalence. This is confirmed by the description of ‘manna’ (which originally simply meant ‘What is this?’—manna is literally ‘What do you call it’) as ‘bread’, which is clearly isn’t, unless bread is a broad reference to food in general.
Andrew Wilson highlights the way we need to translated the idea of Jesus as bread from the first century into our culture.
In some ways the biblical word bread corresponds more closely to our concept of food than our concept of bread. It was not just an important part of a meal, or even the most popular one, but the essence of all meals. Bread was life.
When a waiter asks if we would like a bit of bread for the table, we might say no, seeing it as an appetiser before the real food comes out, and then we read that sort of take-it-or-leave-it approach into our Bibles. In the biblical world, on the other hand, bread is essential. It is life-giving, and without it you starve…
When Jesus says “I am the bread of life” it is not an appeal to taste. Jesus is not saying that he is a savoury appetiser or a side dish or a popular choice among people who like their spirituality nutritional and fresh from the oven. He is claiming to be essential, life-giving, one upon whom human beings are entirely dependent and without whom we cannot function properly. (God of All Things, pp 142–144).
Jesus’ emphatic response (‘Amen, Amen…’ once more) is to make two shifts. First, Moses was not the source of this ‘bread’, but only the means by which God provided it, and God himself is the origin. Secondly, the bread that God will now give is ‘the one’ (contra NIV, ‘the bread’) that comes down from heaven. This echoes the language of John 1; the light has come into the world in the form of the word who has become flesh, and he brings life to the whole world. This bread will not just feed the people of Israel, but all who will receive him.
As in previous episodes (and ones that follow) in the dialogue Jesus sets up an expectation which his interlocutors then want to fulfilled—to which Jesus replies that he is the answer. Compare John 4.15 ‘Sir, give me this water’ with John 6.34 ‘Sir, give us this bread’ and John 9.36 ‘Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?’ Jesus himself becomes the climactic answer to the heightened question that has been given urgency by the tantalising promise of God that the hearers long to be fulfilled.
We can see, now, why Jesus is addressed as ‘Rabbi’, teacher. We do not live by bread alone, but by the very word that comes from God; Jesus is the word of God who has come down; therefore it is Jesus, in both his person and his teaching, who is the bread of life with which God feeds us.
In the Fourth Gospel, there are seven occasions where Jesus declares simply ‘I am’, without adding a predicate, and seven occasions where Jesus declares ‘I am [something]’, with a predicate, of which this is the last. Felix Just notes how all these images are rooted in the OT, and primarily refer to God’s relationship with Israel:
- Bread of Life / Bread from Heaven – see Exod 16; Num 11:6-9; Ps 78:24; Isa 55:1-3; Neh 9:15; 2 Mac 2:5-8
- Light of the World – Exod 13:21-22; Isa 42:6-7; Ps 97:4
- Good Shepherd – Ezek 34:1-41; Gen 48:15; 49:24; Ps 23:1-4; 80:1; 100:3-4; Micah 7:14
- Resurrection / Life – Dan 12:2; Ps 56:13; 2 Mac 7:1-38
- Way – Exod 33:13; Ps 25:4; 27:11; 86:11; 119:59; Isa 40:3; 62:10
- Truth – 1 Kings 17:4; Ps 25:5; 43:3; 86:11; 119:160; Isa 45:19
- Vine / Vineyard – Isa 5:1-7; Ps 80:8-17; Jer 2:21; Ezek 17:5-10
The general nature of bread as food and sustenance is again emphasised by Jesus’ use of parallelism: ‘who comes to me/shall not hunger/who believes in me/shall never thirst’, the latter of which connects us back to the woman at the well in chapter 4. It also makes clear what began this dialogue: that ‘feeding’ on Jesus is primarily a metaphor for believing in and trusting him. If and when we eat bread and drink wine as a sign of this, it is a sign of our receiving him, of ‘feeding on him in our hearts, by faith, with thanksgiving’.
27 thoughts on “Jesus the bread of life in John 6”
Perhaps the Eucharist might be worthy of acknowledgement in your piece??
Where in the passage is the Eucharist mentioned?
The passage under discussion in the article is John 6.24-35. The last verse does give us Jesus as the Bread of Life. However, given the discussion of bread as the ‘staff of life’ as we used to say, and the textual context with manna rather than the passover meal, this seems to me to resonate more with Deut 8.3:
“And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
which then links to Jesus as the incarnation of the Word.
Quite. I tried to make this link clear at the end of the piece; some readers appear to have missed that.
I don’t think any of this chapter makes reference to the later, developed ritual of ‘the Eucharist’. The primitive practice of breaking bread in the Lord’s supper will naturally have echoes with it. But Jesus is pointing us to himself, not a ritual, and the ritual should do the same.
John’s hearers would be aware of the significance of ‘The breaking of bread’
It is utterly implicit.
You seem to be under the impression that ‘breaking of bread’ refers to celebrating some quasi-Anglican form of Holy Communion, and then, with this in your mind, reading this into the minds of ‘John’s hearers’. As the quote from Andrew Wilson helps to explain, the phrase refers to sharing a meal, and bread is pars pro toto. See Ex 2:20, II Ki 6:22f and Acts 2:46. It has been noted often enough on these pages that the original celebration of ‘eucharist’ was in the context of a shared meal.
I do not get ‘quasi Anglican Holy Communion’.
I do not play denominational games.
The Eucharist is of the Universal Church whether celebrated by the Pope or a Baptist minister.
It is a shared meal and the biblical record does not conflict with the point that I am trying to make.
I am not under any ‘impression’ and really want to avoid suggesting that you are being patronising.
Jeremy, perhaps next time you could be more explicit in your comments when ‘trying to make a point’ instead of leaving readers to guess at your meaning, which I, for one, still do not get.
That’s more your inference than Jeremy’s implication!
Perhaps we can see a continuity of thought and practice between the meals of Jesus (especially the meals he shared with the Twelve and other disciples) and the subsequent meals of the early Church at which the faithful BOTH shared bread together AND remembered the words and actions of Jesus. At these meals the hungry were literally fed, as Acts describes.
Thus we can see the words of Jesus recorded in the Fourth Gospel as doubly true: whoever “believes in me” will never be hungry — because their fellow-believers will bring bread (food) to the shared eucharistic meals. And at the same time whoever understands the teaching of Jesus will be fed spiritually, a spiritual meal which will cause them to bring bread to the shared meals and to be reconciled with one another.
The subsequent ritualization and clericalization of the eucharist has removed from it the idea of actually meeting the physical needs of the faithful and turned it into a token or symbolic meal with only a spiritual meaning, and that meaning particuarly attached to the crucifixion and to developing ideas of atonement.
Steven, I think a charitable engagement rather than aggressive interrogation of the comments of another might get us further.
It is suggested that this *I am* text is to be unfurled from the summary of Jesus *I am* sayings in John 8:58; Truly, truly, I say to you before Abraham was, I am.”
R.E. Brown, “no clearer implication of divinity is found in the gospel tradition.” John Commentary
” In one single statement the supreme truth about the supreme Man is made known- his pre-existence, his absolute existence ! Jesus Christ was present in history “before Abraham was”, and Jesus Christ is Lord of eternity. *I am*….
“In his perfect oneness with God Jesus has always been the Revealer and the Revelation.
What he was to men in his earthy life he always had been in his heavenly one; all that Yahweh had been to them, he had been to them. That is why Abraham rejoiced in the day of God, which was also the day of Jesus: Saviour and Lord….
He is saviour God in their midst.” (1)
This is a rolling out of the Old Testament of the self-revelation of the name, nature and person of God, Yahweh, the personal name of the unique covenanting, Saviour God.
And it is
“in this covenant context, his “I Am that I am” really means, “All that I am, I am for you.” God in his unfathomable and unlimited being as putting himself at the disposal of his beloved people: he who was all things in himself would be all things to them.” (1)
John 6:35: “I am the bread of life.”
“Jesus here is the higher manna, the true bread to which the OT manna pointed….
He does not say he *gives* spiritual bread, but that he *is* spiritual bread.’..’
“What he is, he shares; what he gives is from himself. He is the bread of life because he has life within himself- the life of the kingdom, the life of God. Moreover, he is so with such completeness and all sufficiency that those who believe in him shall never hunger or thirst again.
What Yahweh in his all sufficient (covenant) *I am* character was to Moses and his people, Jesus is…” (1)
Not only that but,
” Jesus makes a striking statement…” and the bread I shall give for the life of the world is my *flesh* 6; 51)… Beasley- Murray (commentary on John) …It is characteristic of the Gospel… that the emphasis in the passage falls not on Christ’s death for sin, but on his death for life; “my flesh… for the life of the world.” (1)
(1) Quotations from, The Glory of Christ by Peter Lewis, (1992 Paternoster Press) with a preface; “This is a book of theology for everyone.” It has input from R.T France, John Goldingay and Stephen Travis among others and it “lifts the heart to the grandeur of Christ and humanity’s place within God’s purposes for this world- Church Times”.
Indeed, it does, leading to worship and praise.
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:28, 29 NIV
“The title ‘Son of Man’ occurs 13 times in this gospel in 12 verses. It ultimately derives from the vision of Daniel 7, when a figure ‘like a son of man’ is lifted up to the throne of God and given an everlasting kingdom.”
I wonder what you mean by “ultimately”? Is it not possible that the phrase, at least on occasion, if not this one, be an allusion to Psalm 8:4. John Ronning so argues in: The Jewish Targums and John’s Logos Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2010.
Yes. It looks like “ultimately” Daniel’s muse is the same Spirit who inspired the prophet David.
Anyone reading such assertions (often made on this site) might be forgiven for supposing that Daniel 7 was the only place in the OT where the phrase occurred. What other basis could there be? In fact (according to a search of the term on esv.org) it occurs 107 times. The first occurrence is at Num 23:19, which says, obliquely, that God is not a ‘son of man’. By contrast, Daniel 7 refers only to someone who, in the vision, looks ‘like a son of man’.
‘Man’ in the Hebrew is Adam and should be so translated, since one cannot be the son of a collective noun (hence the phrase ‘son of man’ makes no sense in English). The phrase just means a human being and, since the biblical writers all believed in the Genesis tradition, specifically a descendant of Adam. (But the name ‘Adam’ itself also meant ‘man’ in a generic sense, so the phrase was not as specific as it sounds in English.)
The title ‘Son of Man/Adam’ is complementary to the title ‘Son of God’ in the gospels. But for theological obfuscation, this would be obvious to any reader, the significance being that Jesus was both fully (not merely ‘like’) man and fully God. Jesus never referred to himself as “the one like a Son of Man” so there is plainly no allusion to Dan 7.
How could he be both fully man and fully God? Because man was made in the image of God, not, as heretical modern theology would have it, God (Jesus) was made (incarnated) in the image of man. In the beginning Jesus was the image of God and Adam was made in his likeness. Adam’s form came from above, not through some evolutionary lineage beginning with bacteria.
Unlike Dan 7, Ps 8:4 does have some relevance because we have its quotation in Hebrews as authority for understanding ‘son of Adam’ there as referring to Jesus, the archetypal son of Adam, under whose feet ultimately all things will be put in subjection. And just as Jesus has already, in heaven, be crowned with glory and honour, and will receive the glory and honour of the nations on earth, so he will bring many sons to glory (Heb 2:10). His destiny is also ours, since we, as both sons of Adam and sons of God, are in him.
I just realised that Geoff has posted an excellent summary on the meaning of ‘son of man’ in his comment below.
Yes. Thanks for this.
This was apparently Jesus’s favourite title for himself, and as I see it it, he seems to have wanted not so much to highlight his deity, but focus instead on the fact that he had become in the incarnation what he was not previously – a man, as per Psalm 8. And thus, as you point out, as sons of Adam, we ourselves are to become what we were not previously, sons of God.
Thanks for the question Colin. I am afraid Steven R is quite mistaken in his argument.
There are three source texts for the phrase ‘son of man’ in the OT: the generic phrase as a circumlocution for ‘human’, as in Ps 8.4; the repetition of the phrase in God’s address to Ezekiel; and Dan 7.13. In shorthand, the accumulative meaning of the term is therefor: human being; human being as a fragile mortal in contrast to the splendour and majesty of God; fragile mortal human who is nevertheless exalted to God’s throne.
Jesus uses the phrase in the gospels in a similar range of senses. Sometimes his use emphasises his humanity and fragility (‘the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head; the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many’). But most often and most strikingly, Jesus uses the phrase in relation to his vindication and exaltation. For example, in Matt 24.30, the phrase ‘son of man coming on the clouds’ is a very close match to the wording of Dan 7.13 LXX, and the idea has already been hinted at in the threefold statement of Jesus that ‘the son of man will be handed over, killed, and raised on the third day’. The same association is found in Jesus’ declaration before the High Priest(s) in Mark 14.62, and similar language in Stephen’s vision of the exalted Jesus in Acts 7.56.
To say that the phrase ‘son of man’ has no connection with Daniel 7 is completely unfounded, and the idea that it has ‘no relevance’ is equally mistaken. Any good commentary on these verses will highlight that.
I’m more or less with you until the last paragraph – i.e. you’re not contradicting anything I said. You refer to ‘any good commentary’ but do not provide the substantiation yourself, so the charge you level at my argument applies more to yours, for I have provided substantive grounding.
Matt 24:30 and Mark 14:62 clearly allude to Dan 7:13, but it does not follow that the title ‘the Son of Man’ everywhere else in the gospels refers to it. The allusion is identifiable because of the reference to ‘coming on the clouds of heaven’, not the perceived reference to the Son of Man. Indeed Dan 7:13 does not use the definite article at all: the writer sees someone who looks like ‘a’ son of man, i.e. a human being, distinct from the appearance of the one on the throne.
See also the excellent summary by Geoff in the comment below.
From a chapter, Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, in a book Name above all Names, co-authored by Alistair Begg and Sinclair B Ferguson:
In the Gospels Jesus called himself the Son of Man on about 50 separate occasions (not counting parallel passages) … the speaker is nearly always Jesus, so it was likely his favourite self-designation of his identity, work and significance of his ministry.
1. Daniel:There is little doubt from his words that he saw the Daniel’s vision as background, which had three elements to it
1) The coming reign of God
2) The certain judgment of evil
3) The promise of the son of Man – coming to the throne of majesty on high, the Ancient of days, as one of unparalleled triumph, magnificence and glory and receiving authority over the whole cosmos.
2. Ezekiel: the expression son of man occurs most frequently here, marking out Ezekiel as a faithful (or here is a true man , entrusting himself wholly to God for his mission.
Psalm 8: Is a significant appearance of the term, meditation of creation and goodness of God creating man in his image, Adam.
“What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him”.
Jesus is the “Proper Man” (Martin Luther)”Man as he was created to be and the man who fulfills man’s destiny.”
3. Bible Big Picture: Adam, created to be the first son of man to exercise dominion in the name of God. He sinned and fell. Jesus the second Man and the *last Adam* to exercise dominion over the macrocosmos.
“The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing”. John 5:19 “I have given the words that you gave me.” John17:7-8
“That is what it means to be the Son of Man ” – made in God’s image to fulfill the divine glorious destiny with fellowship, love and affection. Jesus is the one who will accomplish all this.
4 Direction of travel:
In Daniel 7, the Son of Man comes to the Ancient of Days. This refers to his post resurrection ascension and enthronement at the right hand of the Father, not the end, but mid-point of time. (There will be a consummated kingdom -see later)
“His *coming* is actually his *going* to the Ancient of days clothed in our humanity, having done all that Adam had failed to do, and having taken the judgment Adam and we deserve.
“From now on, the kingdom he has gained will be shared with all of his saints.”
5 Psalm 24:Early Church fathers thought Psalm24 envisaged this climatic moment.
6 So the immediate focus of Daniel’s vision is the completion of the earthly ministry of Jesus, the fruit of his first coming.
The Son of Man sayings of Jesus fall into three categories:
1 Sayings that describe the incarnate Son of Man establishing his kingdom (eg Matthew 3:13 through 7)
2. The suffering Son of Man, paying the redemption price for the kingdom, eg Matt 16:21
3. Jesus, the triumphant Son of Man who will consummate his kingdom.
The Son of Man is now sharing the kingdom of God with his saints in all the nations, the last days have begun, the Spirit pored out on all flesh and we await the time when the triumph of the Son of man will be visible everywhere. The kingdom now, but not yet.
1 Corinthians 15.
What an excellent summary. Thanks!
Barnabas Lindars (in his 1983 book “Jesus Son of Man”) concludes, if I have read him right, that we can distinguish between Jesus’s use of the phrase “Son of Man”, and the use to which the Church put it. In his view, which I find quite convincing, Jesus’s use is ironic, self-deprecating, and to be understood as an idiomatic self-reference. When Jesus says “the Son of Man this” or “the son of Man that” he means no more and no less than “I this” and “I that”. The authentic sayings, according to Lindars “convey something of the irony and saltiness of his references to himself”. Post-resurrection, the early Christians applied to him the figure of the Danielic Son of Man, understanding him to be the exalted Messiah.
Here is a critique of Lindars:
Rather than a somewhat partisan review of a book written 20-odd years earlier, try this lecture by Br Barnabas on the topic in question: (The New Look on the Son of Man) from 1980, three years before the book I referenced. And for what it’s worth he was Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at Manchester University.
Carson was *under* him and Nascelli, under Carson, both who critique the fundamental underpinning methology
(and tennets of belief ) of Biblicall Criticism and Bibical theology of Lindar.
Are you saying that Lindar doesn’t apply that in the book you reference?
Indeed the point you made in your comment above from Lindar’s is the point that is countered in the link I made. Howard Marshall also is cited in that article as critiquing Lindar’s earlier book, the theisis on which it was founded.
Longtitutinal interconnected, Biblical Theology, has moved on apace as has criticism of Historical/form criticism
with its basic anti-historical, anti-supernaturalism.
Mere *authority referencing* does not deal with the counterpoints made. I don’t know whether Lindar himself had addressed the counterpoints, from within the confines of academic milieu of the times in which he lived and the main streams of biblical studies in which he swam?