Ninety times in ‘Ezekiel’ the designation “Son of man” is used. Among the Prophets this is peculiar to Ezekiel. We know that the favourite title chosen by the Lord Jesus Himself was “The Son of man”. Only twice in the eighty-two times where it occurs was it used by others. There is a similarity and a difference. Ezekiel has no article: he is just “son of man”. Jesus always has the article “The Son of man”. The similarity is not in Person, but in Vocation. The infinite difference is in Person. The vocational similarity is found in the meaning of the title. It is that of identification with man; representation of man. The idea is a very large one; it brings into view God’s concern for mankind. Not Israel, but all mankind is God’s concern.
Israel’s vocation was meant to be to all men. The Church’s vocation is to “all the world”. Christ is identified with and representative of man in the thought of God. This is the essential feature of the prophet’s ministry, which ministry is to reveal the Man, and to lead to Him. Anything that puts the minister in a separate class and marks him off as apart from other men is a violation of a principle of the Spirit’s way, and will, sooner or later, prove to be a limitation among men. Ezekiel said that he “sat where they sat”. That was not the condescending act of a superior, an official, one of a special class. No, it was a man amongst men, seeing with their eyes and feeling with their hearts, yet seeing with the eyes of God and feeling with the heart of God. Jesus adopted no garb, habit, tone of voice, or badge to mark Himself off as different or apart from others. There was ample prejudice, suspicion, criticism, and that kind of thing to question His authority, and He never tried to overcome this attitude or get any advantage by artificial, official, or formal means.
Nothing was assumed, put on, or feigned to make an impression and gain acceptance. The Holy Spirit of anointing was His sole basis and source of authority. That was enough and the centuries testify to it. Note then again, the title chosen by Him and linked by Him with every phase of His life and history was not one that men would look upon with honour, respect and awe, but “the Son of man”. Different indeed, but in nature, not in anything external. At the same time remember who He was! He “emptied himself… and being found in fashion as a man…” (Phil. 2:7, 8). That is said of the One who, in His own right, was equal with God.