“Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:17-19)
Is Jesus pleased with Peter's response?Jesus said this to Peter after Jesus asked:
"Who do people say the Son of Man is?" (Matthew 16:13)Peter then replied to Jesus' question:
"You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:16)Why was Jesus so pleased by Simon’s (later renamed Peter by Jesus) response? Just saying that Jesus was the son of the living God? Why was this something that could not have been revealed to Peter by man? Certainly, as some sectarian teachers proclaim, it is pretty easy to answer that Jesus was the son of God. Why was Simon's statement revealed to him by God rather than man?
The two operators of Simon's statement are Jesus’ being the “son” or loving servant and child of God, and Jesus being the “Christ” or Messiah”.
Why is Jesus pleased with being called 'Messiah' and 'Son of God'?As we have discussed with the previous verse, the translation of the Greek word υἱὸς can mean either "son" in the context of a physical family, or it can mean "one who follows or is dependent upon another," according to the Greek lexicon. This latter translation translates to being a follower or more appropriately, a loving servant.
But in the context of describing Jesus, the word υἱός (huios) would provide a further translation: specific to the loving servant teaching on behalf of God: This is being the representative of God. One who is dependent upon God and is serving God will also represent God in some situations. This was Jesus' role - he is representing the Supreme Being.
But when the context relates to one who is devoted to or a follower of God - then the relationship is one of service. Providing loving service to the Supreme Being.
In Luke 20:34-34, Jesus said:
“The people of this age…. And they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children…”Here Jesus talks about people who grow in their spiritual maturity, and become elevated to the stature of becoming the Supreme Being's loving children - though "children" is also being translated from υἱὸς - and thus more appropriately translated to servants - "God's servants".
Regardless, we see the intimacy of such a relationship with the Supreme Being. Such was the intimate, devoted and loving relationship between Jesus and God.
In this we can also see that Jesus never configured that he was the only servant of God. This is a product of some sectarian interpreters who tried to create a monopoly among religious institutions. It is an illogical proposal anyway: Is God so limited (impotent) that He can have only one son?
To the contrary, Jesus also said:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons [servants] of God.” (Matthew 5:9)and
"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 (mistranslated to "sons") to refer to "servant" or "devoted follower" elsewhere:
"while the sons [servants or subjects] of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." (Matthew 8:12 RSV)and
"Can the sons [servants or attendants] of the bride chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then will they fast." (Matthew 9:15 ASV)In all of these statements, we find the Greek word υἱός being used by Jesus, and none of them refer to a physical offspring. Among the different versions they are translated differently - we illustrated those translations using "son."
To this, we add other statements from and there are multiple references to "sons of God" among the English Bible translations:
In the Old Testament, the word translated to "sons" is בֵּן (ben) - which can also be either translated to "son" or "a member of a guild, order, class" - in other words, a devoted follower or servant.
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 6:2)
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)
We can see clearly that the references above are not to a "son" - a male child of a particular parent. The context is broader. The context is a devotional context.
A more appropriate translation given the context, is, "devoted follower of God" or “loving servant of God" rather than "son of God."
What does Messiah mean?In terms of “Messiah,” we must understand the origin and meaning of this word and separate it from the institutional interpretation.
The origin of the word from Aramaic means "the anointed” or “anointed one.” The related word used interchangeably is the word “Christ” which is most closely translated as “savior.”
The concept of an “anointed one” comes from the ancient Hebrew concept of a person being chosen by God to unite the tribes of Israel and usher in a day of peace and prosperity. This has become termed as the “messianic age.” However, we can see that "anointing" was performed between a priest and student:
So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites went down and put Solomon on King David's mule and escorted him to Gihon. Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. (1 Kings 38-39)So we can see that many of the prophets were in fact, anointed. We can also see the usage of anointed and "savior" also indicates a reference for someone who would lead his followers into spiritual realization. If we consider the Bible as a resource for spiritual growth rather than a history book, we can see that so many teachers, such as Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Jacob and others were all chosen by God to teach to those around them in hopes of delivering them or saving them.
Then the LORD said, "Rise and anoint him; he is the one."
So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.
(1 Samuel 16:1-13)
Who is doing the saving?As we investigate further, we find that the intended meaning of the word “messiah” or “anointed one” to be a person who was chosen by God to deliver or “save” a person spiritually by introducing them to God and teaching them in such a way that they become loving servants of God.
Because the Messiah was seen as the messenger of God, ultimately this makes God the ultimate Messiah.
Jesus also saw this clearly. He didn't want others to proclaim his glory unless they connected it to the Supreme Being. This is why he said:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matthew 7:21-22)
Did God die?
So they are saying that the Supreme Being, the Creator, and Controller of the universe, came down to earth and became a human being, and then died in order to save us.
First of all, why, if God was the Controller of everything, would He have to be beaten and suffer on a cross and die in order to save us?
And what happened to the universe between the time when God supposedly died and when He was resurrected? Who took care of the universe during that time?
These are, quite simply, falsehoods. God never became Jesus. The Supreme Being controls everything and He can save anyone with a simple thought. He doesn't need to subject Himself to any kind of sacrifice in order to save anyone.
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. (Matthew 27:50)
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)
These verses indicate that Jesus' "spirit" left his physical body. When the body "gives up the spirit" the physical body dies. This means that the "spirit" - the person who animates the body - leaves the physical body at the time of death.
Since Jesus then appeared to his close disciples two days later this indicates that Jesus was able to produce an apparition for their eyes to see - much as angels can appear in this world.
Otherwise, Jesus could not have appeared in his physical body before his disciples. How could he have come through the locked door? How could he have shown his wounds, which would have been oozing with blood, leaking all over the place?
This was accomplished through apparition. Jesus' spirit was able to appear in a form similar to his last human body so his disciples could recognize him.
But some could not. When he appeared to Mary, she didn't recognize him. He was walking beside her asking her questions. Why didn't she recognize him? Because he was changing his appearance to suit the situation. He was appearing as an apparition. As an angel. This is also why he could suddenly appear and disappear, without walking away or walking in.
Is this about a change of heart?Jesus' body was brutally tortured and murdered. And his suffering is a testament to his love for the Supreme Being. And yes, should a person come to understand Jesus' total dedication to the Supreme Being, this has the ability to save that person.
But it is not an automatic process. There must be realization. There must be a change of heart.
If God became Jesus, then who was Jesus praying to when he said:
"My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will." (Matthew 26:39)Jesus came to teach us to come to a loving relationship with a Person that Jesus himself had a loving relationship with: the Supreme Being. Jesus was the loving servant and child of God, who made great sacrifices in order to teach us to love God. This was his mission.
Yes, it is true, that the loving servant and representative of God can truly be perceived as connected with God. As the representative of God, they are connected with the Supreme Being. Thus they can and should be seen as a manifestation of God’s love for us. But they should never be confused with the Supreme Being Himself.
Jesus might be compared to an ambassador, or representative of a country, being in another country. The country treats this representative in the same way they would treat the country's president. Any disrespect of the ambassador would be offensive to the president. But at the same time, no one would say that this ambassador is the president or the government itself. It would be ridiculous to make that confusion.
The loving relationship between God and Jesus is the rock upon which one can build their own relationship with the Supreme Being. This is the essence of the spiritual world: Coming to love and lovingly serve the Supreme Being is our innate role and what will ultimately make each of us fulfilled.