"You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." (Matt. 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 many ecclesiastical sectarian teachers disseminate, 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”.
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, a devotee, or more appropriately, a loving servant.
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 ecclesiastical interpreters who tried to create a monopoly among religious institutions. It is a ridiculous 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.” (Matt. 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 "devotee" 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." (Matt. 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." (Matt. 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)
Thus a better translation is "devoted follower of God" or “loving servant of God" rather than "son of God."
Now with regard to being “Messiah,” we must understand the origin and meaning of this word rather than how it has been defined ecclesiastically by the Christian and Jewish doctrines.
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)
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. It was a general term used to describe God's loving servants who taught on His behalf. It was stated as an esteemed post or position, because anyone God chose to represent Him is esteemed, because they have such a relationship with God.
Certainly these concepts of “saving” a person or “savior” has been misconstrued by both the ecclesiastical doctrines of the Jewish and Christian worlds. Why? Because these two organizations have lost the substance of the teachings of the Bible. They have become political organizations, and their leaders are now elected like politicians, by councils of people rather than God. Therefore, since no one among their political appointees was chosen by God, they create mythical definitions of this "messiah."
Let's state this simply: Any person who is engaged in a loving relationship with God and who has been chosen by God to represent Him becomes a messiah, Christ, chosen one, or anointed one. Not because of their own authority, but because they are empowered by the Supreme Being.
Because the Supreme Being is the ultimate "Savior" and "Messiah" and thus the ultimate "Christ" or "Christos."
Seeing Jesus as the ultimate Messiah or Christ actually offends Jesus. We can see this clearly from his own statements:
"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!' (Matt. 7:21-22)Today's ecclesiastical so-called Christian doctrine was proposed at the first Nicene Synod (a political assembly) in the Fifth Century. Here the official doctrine that Jesus is “God the Son” was made. This began the misidentification of Jesus that has continued through ecclesiastical Christian churches today.
What is the problem with this doctrine? This doctrine has forgotten the very Person that Jesus came to teach us about. Instead of worshiping the Supreme Being that Jesus came to teach us about and doing the Supreme Being's will and loving the Supreme Being as Jesus taught, they figured that they would just slide Jesus in that role. Now Jesus is supposed to be the Supreme Being, and now they teach that "God became man (in Jesus) and God died on the cross."
So God died? This is what they are teaching. They teach that the Supreme Being died on the cross, and then was resurrected in three days.
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.
Jesus was the loving servant of God. Yes, Jesus' body was brutally tortured and murdered. 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." (Matt. 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 disrespecting 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.
(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Book of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus - translated from the original Greek texts.)