Over the past nineteen years, I have undertaken the creating of this musical project because I have wanted to put forth a portrayal of Jesus Christ on the stage like I have never seen Him there before. I personally don’t feel like His real story has ever been told there, nor has He been depicted correctly or sufficiently so as to produce saving faith.
For instance, in some national productions, the person of Jesus is represented in such a way so as to appear too unsure of Himself, too weak, too common, not divine enough, etc.
Meanwhile, others have chosen to go completely the other way, so that when they put Christ on the stage, He is only there for a short moment, and only in an iconic way; we, the audience, mostly see Him from behind, or we only hear Him quoting a scripture in a sonically enhanced voice. From these latter approaches, Jesus comes across as being so different from everyone else around Him that He feels alien, and unapproachable. And for me, none of these illustrations of the Man Jesus will do.
So, I have tried with Son of Man to create an image of Christ in flesh that represents His divinity and power, as well as His approachableness and humanity. In everything that is humanly good and right, we see Christ right there along side His associates. We see a Savior who loves, who finds joy in the human soul, who dances with His brothers (He was, after all, a Jew), and who makes the most out of His earthly experience.
Meanwhile, He stands out as far superior and so much more of a man than anyone else alive. We see Him in His humility, but also in His boldness and strength. He is not afraid to raise His voice and cry out while He preaches, and yet He is always in control of who He is.
This musical is entirely sung. Therefore, Christ sings along with everyone else to communicate, to teach, to work His miracles, to pray, and to bless. It is a living, breathing Jesus Christ before us on the stage. And yet His wisdom, His manifestations of miraculous power, His overwhelming love, and the confidence of His teachings amaze the rest of humanity around Him. He is on the one hand like every man, and yet unlike any that has ever lived. This is the Jesus you will find in Son of Man.
In the musical, there is a large cast that joins Christ on the stage: Mary of Nazareth (His mother), Gabriel the angel, Joseph the Carpenter, Shepherds, Angels, John the Baptist, a host of Israelites, Satan, evil spirits, John the Beloved, and his brother James, Simon Peter, and his brother Andrew, other apostles, Nicodemus the Pharisee and other Pharisees, Mary Magdalene, Caiaphas the High Priest and members of the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Roman soldiers, the fictional character Judah (who represents the views and attitudes of the Jewish people longing for their Messiah), and others.
To many people, Jesus is an icon only, not reachable, not tangible, but mysterious and ethereal. He’s a statue or a painting, but not flesh and blood. And while the statues and paintings are valuable as a reflection of His magnificence, they are not sufficient to produce the communion He desires with us. Yes, He deserves the honor, tribute, and glorious legacy they afford Him. However, for Jesus to truly have the power in us that He yearns for, we must remember that He came to earth as a Man. He ate and slept, worked and perspired. He loved His family and friends, as well as the many people He encountered. He experienced temptation and sickness, rejection and homelessness, hunger, thirst, and fatigue. He felt all that humanity feels. Eventually He suffered pain and agony beyond what any human being can endure, that He might redeem us from sin and rescue us from the grave. He descended into the human experience and came to fully comprehend us through the life He lived and the death He died.
What if our current world could better understand this Jesus? What if, through means of our modern, media-driven pop culture, a retelling of the Christ story appeared on the stage that both artistically and spiritually gave sharp focus and purpose to the life of the Man, Jesus? Would not such a marvelous result be worthy of every effort? Would it not be worth the personal cost? It has felt worth it to me. The Bible tells us that at one point during Jesus’ ministry, after He had told the people that He, the Son of Man, must be lifted up and die so He could draw all men unto Him, the people asked Him, saying: “We have heard that Christ abideth forever. How sayest thou, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” It is my profound desire to answer that question through this production.