Q1) What does it mean when Jesus says he is the son of man?
A1) When Jesus calls himself, or is referred to by others, as the Son of Man, He is referring to his humanity. He is referring to the part of his life that is all human. Also, there is an implication that his audience of Jews heard very clearly, that we often miss. When Jesus is referred to as the Son of Man, he is essentially calling himself the Messiah. In Danial chapter 7 we have a messianic prophecy that all the Jews were very familiar with, in which God is said to be descending from Heaven like “A Son of Man”, which is to say that God came down in the form of a human.
So with this phrase, Jesus is saying that he is fully human and is the Messiah
Q2) What does it mean when Jesus says he is the son of God?
A2)When Jesus calls himself, or is referred to by others, as the Son of God, he is referring to his being completely God. This is a statement of Jesus saying that He is God, and to an audience of monotheistic people (believers that there is only one God) who lived in a largely polytheistic society (believers that there are many gods), this is a bold statement. Jesus was saying that “we all know there is only one God, and I AM Him”
Jesus truly was %100 God, and %100 human. Not 50/50, but somehow %100 both.
Q3) If Jesus IS god, why does he call god his father?
A3) So if Jesus is truly God, then how could he pray to himself in the garden? Or how could the Father speak to Him from the clouds when He was baptized? Or why would Jesus make statements like “none can get to the Father unless they come through Me?” as if they were two different beings?
The list could go on and on about how Jesus would refer to the Father as if He were another being, and yet the list could go on and on about how Jesus would clearly state that He and the Father are one. How do we bend our minds around that one?
Yes, indeed the theology of the Holy Trinity is a complicated one. One that requires us to have an understanding of the way things work in another dimension in which we ourselves do not live. Therefore, making it impossible for us to completely understand. How are two beings one at the same time?
We know that in John 1 it says that the Word was with God, and was God at the same time, and created all things, and the Word became flesh and dwelled among us. So Jesus was with the Father, and they were both the one God at the same time as being two beings somehow. And in Genesis we know that the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters at this same time, which John would have been very familiar with when he wrote his Gospel, so now we enter into the equation a third being. WHAT!?
It is mind blowing, but I will give you an illustration that I learned from CS Lewis. This illustration is only beneficial as far as it can be helpful to understand the unexplainable, and as soon as it stops being helpful then it has reached the end of its usefulness. But let us try.
“You know that in space you can move in three ways—to left or right, backwards or forwards, up or down. Every direction is either one of these three or a compromise between them. They are called the three Dimensions. Now notice this. If you are using only one dimension, you could draw only a straight line. If you are using two, you could draw a figure: say, a square. And a square is made up of four straight lines. Now a step further. If you have three dimensions, you can then build what we call a solid body, say, a cube—a thing like a dice or a lump of sugar. And a cube is made up of six squares.
A world of one dimension would be a straight line. In a two-dimensional world, you still get straight lines, but many lines make one figure. In a three-dimensional world, you still get figures but many figures make one solid body. In other words, as you advance to more real and more complicated levels, you do not leave behind you the things you found on the simpler levels: you still have them, but combined in new ways—in ways you could not imagine if you knew only the simpler levels.
Now the Christian account of God involves just the same principle. The human level is a simple and rather empty level. On the human level one person is one being, and any two persons are two separate beings—just as, in two dimensions (say on a flat sheet of paper) one square is one figure, and any two squares are two separate figures. On the Divine level you still find personalities; but up there you find them combined in new ways which we, who do not live on that level, cannot imagine.
In God’s dimension, so to speak, you find a being who is three Persons while remaining one Being, just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube. Of course we cannot fully conceive a Being like that: just as, if we were so made that we perceived only two dimensions in space we could never properly imagine a cube. But we can get a sort of faint notion of it. And when we do, we are then, for the first time in our lives, getting some positive idea, however faint, of something super-personal—something more than a person. It is something we could never have guessed, and yet, once we have been told, one almost feels one ought to have been able to guess it because it fits in so well with all the things we know already.” C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity
But even the best earthly illustrations pale in comparison to the reality which we wont understand until we have advanced from this dimension to the next by leaving this body behind.
So until then, it will take a bit of faith. But we put faith in lesser things we don’t understand all the time. For example, we put faith in technology as far as we know how to use it, and that it will work, but I could never explain to you how it works. I could use a computer. But I could never explain to you how it works. Give me all the plastic, metal, glass, and time in the world, and I could never build you even the simplest computer. But I don’t need to know how it works to trust that it does work, and that I can rely on it everyday. And so it is with things like the Trinity, or prayer. We don’t know how these things work, but we can trust that they do work.
I hope this helps. It’s a lot to chew on.