“This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5)

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" (Matthew 17:1-5)

What does 'This is my son, whom I love' mean?

The English translators have used "son", but the translation of the Greek word translated to “son” here is υἱός (huios). This could indicate a relationship of offspring in the physical sense but only within "a restricted" context according to the lexicon.

In this context, we must use the more appropriate meaning from the lexicon: "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower." 

This thus would be more appropriately translated to: "devoted follower" or “loving servant.” If devotion and love are assumed, "servant" can be used singly.

And in the context of Jesus, we can add an additional possible translation of υἱός (huios) - utilized for the loving servant who is introducing us to the Supreme Being: The representative of God. This is also discussed in Thayer's lexicon.

One who is representing God is also serving God. But one who is representing God is providing an important and valuable service to God and to all of us. This was Jesus' role - he is representing the Supreme Being.

Why 'servants' and not 'sons'?

This translation of the Greek word υἱός (huios) to "servants" is supported by numerous statements in the Bible. In fact, practically the entire Bible is a narration of the activities of God's various servants. 

Ironically, those teachers and institutions who claim to be servants of Jesus have mistranslated this very key word to "sons." Is not service to God the mainstay and pillar of Jesus' teachings?

There is clear evidence of this, including three statements by Jesus himself:
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons [servants] of God. (Matthew 5:9)
"For they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons [servants] of God, being sons of the resurrection." (Luke 20:36 RSV)
Jesus also uses the word υἱὸς to refer to "servant" or "follower" elsewhere:
"But the subjects [servants] of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:12)
“How can the guests [servants] of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast." (Matthew 9:15 ASV)
In all of these statements, we find the Greek word υἱός being used, yet none are referring to physical offspring. They all refer to people who are servants in some way, to either God and the resurrection, "the kingdom," or to the bridegroom.

Evidencing the latter, Matthew 9:15 has also been translated to "attendants of the bridegroom" (NAV). And clearly, an attendant should be considered - at least at the time of Jesus - a servant.

Other statements provide clear references to "sons of God" among Bible translations:
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. (Genesis 6:1-2)

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4)

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. (Job 1:6)

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. (Job 2:1)

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:7)

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matt. 6:9)

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)
In the Old Testament verses above, "sons" or "children" are being translated from the Hebrew word בֵּן (ben). This word refers not just to "son" or "male child," but also, according to the lexicon, to "a member of a guild, order, class." As such, it refers to a subject - or devoted servant.

Likewise, in all the above New Testament verses, the word "sons" is being translated from the Greek word υἱὸς - used also to describe Jesus as the "son of God." All are also translated to "sons" in most Biblical translations, except for Luke 20:36, for which most Biblical translations use the English word "children." Nevertheless, Jesus is using the same Greek word (υἱὸς) in all three statements, the same word used to Jesus as a "son of God."

How did Jesus please God?

If God says that Jesus pleases Him, then it means that Jesus is giving God pleasure. What kind of person gives pleasure to another person? Certainly, a person who is devoted to pleasing that person - a loving servant.

Certainly, if someone is pleased with someone’s activities, then those activities are being done within the context of service. By God saying that He was pleased with Jesus, we know that Jesus must have been working for the pleasure of God. In other words, Jesus was trying to please God. 

Thus we can say without any doubt that Jesus’ role was one of a loving servant of God who was trying to please God with his activities. This reveals a relationship - one of reciprocal love: God is exchanging a loving relationship with Jesus.

Thus we can offer two possible translations of God's statement:
“This is my beloved Servant, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him!”
Either would be correctly describing the relationship between Jesus and God. The fact that there is a loving relationship between God and Jesus is very clear, not only from this statement but the many statements by Jesus as well. Consider this statement, made by Jesus:
"Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but He who sent me is true. You do not know Him, but I know Him because I am from Him and He sent me." (John 7:28-29)
This makes the relationship between God and Jesus very clear. It is obvious that Jesus is not God, but rather, God's servant. God has sent Jesus as His messenger.

Is there a loving relationship between God and Jesus?

Since Jesus was there, speaking with Moses and Elijah, and the cloud enveloped all of them, and because the voice was speaking of Jesus in the third person, we have to concede that the voice was God’s voice. Who else would be speaking of Jesus in this context?

From the above statement by the Supreme Being we can see that God is an individual Who is separate from Jesus. For someone to be pleased with someone else’s activities, there must be two individuals, with two separate roles. The one who is pleased must have a separate identity from the one who is trying to please them. Otherwise, there would be no expectation or need to please that person.

In other words, the fact that Jesus is pleasing to the Supreme Being means Jesus is not the Supreme Being.

Furthermore, it means there is an intimate relationship between Jesus and God. Jesus is working to please the Supreme Being and the Supreme Being is pleased with Jesus. The fact that Jesus is working to please the Supreme Being is confirmed by some of Jesus' statements, such as:
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me." (John 7:16)
In addition, the one who pleases the other must have a choice to do things that are pleasing or not. Otherwise, there would be no possibility of pleasure, because the actions would be expected.

Here we can see the affection between God and Jesus. We see that God is pleased with Jesus. This illustrates the loving relationship between God and Jesus. A loving relationship requires individuality and some measure of the freedom to choose whether to please the other person or not.

God then goes on to comment about Jesus' teachings: “Listen to him!” God says. What does this tell us? Notice that God didn't say, "Wait until Jesus dies on the cross and then you will be saved." He tells us to listen to Jesus' teachings:

Why did God say, 'listen to him'?

Yes, the Supreme Being is instructing those around Jesus to carefully hear and follow Jesus' teachings. Why? Because it is Jesus' teachings that can save us, should we decide to listen to those teachings, and follow them.

It is not as if we simply have to go to church and "bathe in the blood" of Jesus and we are saved. This is ludicrous.

Furthermore, we can also see from God's statement what we can do to please the Supreme Being: We can carefully study Jesus’ teachings, and we can follow his instructions.

And what was Jesus' most important instruction?
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-40)