THE IDENTITY OF THE ‘SON OF MAN’ IN MATTHEW 12:8: AN EXEGETICAL STUDY
The identity of the ‘son of man’ in Matthew 12:8 is key to the interpretation of the firstSabbath conflict of Matthew’s Gospel (12:1-8). There is an ongoing debate, however, on theidentity of the ‘son of man’ in Matthew 12:8. The enigma of identifying the ‘son of man’ inMatthew 12:8 is heightened with the discovery that the expression has assumed different meanings throughout history. Literature reviewed, so far, has shown that scholars neglect thedifferent settings and the possible meanings of the ‘son of man’ in Matthew 12:8. Synoptic Gospels scholarship has identified three settings of Synoptic Gospel studies. These are the settings of (1) Jesus, (2) the kerygma, and (3) the evangelist. Given the different shades of theidentity of the ‘son of man’ in history, this article investigates the identity of the ‘son of man’in these three settings. This paper is an exegetical study of Matthew 12:8. The paper uses text- centred approach to biblical interpretation. In this paper, we argue that, in the setting ofJesus, the ‘son of man’ in the first Sabbath conflict of Matthew (12:1-8) has no Christologicalimplications. However, in the setting of Matthew, the ‘Son of man’ could have Christologicalsignificance. New Testament scholars, students of NT studies, students of biblical theology, pastors, church members, and the general public interested in finding the identity of the ‘Son of man’ in Matthew 12:8 would find this article beneficial.