“‘…There before me was one like a son of man…’” (Daniel 7:13, NIV).
At Jesus’ birth, something didn’t feel right. The prophet Daniel had raised Israel’s expectations, but this whole God-coming-to-earth thing didn’t seem to be all it was cracked up to be. Sure, there were angels, a few worshipping astrologers, gifts, a star, and a super-normal pregnancy. But God’s arrival was also mundane, deadly, and sorrowful. The angels returned to heaven, leaving only several run-of-the-mill shepherds. The child had only a feeding trough for a crib and strips of cloth for jammies. But that was not the worst of it. Little boys in Bethlehem were murdered and their mothers wailed inconsolably. Before too long, Jesus would join them. Sadly, the myrrh given to Him at His birth, an embalming resin, foretold His own impending burial. Something didn’t feel right.
You see, Daniel had promised a savior who would come with power, glory, and a kingdom and who would receive the worship of all peoples (Daniel 7:13–14). He named this savior, “Son of Man.” But Daniel’s promise was not realized at Jesus’ birth or in His first earthly ministry. Daniel had in mind Jesus’ second coming, but Jesus owned the prophet’s name for him even in his first advent. He makes clear to the disciples that Daniel’s Son of Man would be killed, be raised, and return in glory, but each in its order (Mark 8:31–38).
We have an order to follow as well. Today we are not to lust after power, comfort, and abundance. Instead, we are to deny ourselves, put others first, and in selfless service seek their welfare. We are to receive and endure feeding troughs, strips of linen, crosses, burial, injustice, and tears as we console and raise up others. For, we too, like the Son of Man, who was first the Man of Sorrows, are meant first for suffering and then for glory.