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!" (Matt. 17:1-5)
“This is my son, whom I love..."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 within "a restricted" context according to the lexicon, but in this context it is more appropriately translated as "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower." This thus would be more appropriately translated to:
"devoted follower" or “devoted loving servant,” which could be shorted to - assuming service out of devotion and love - "loving servant." And if devotion and love is assumed, "servant" can be used singly.
This translation of the Greek word υἱός (huios) to "servants" is supported by numerous statements in the Bible, including three statements by Jesus himself:
“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 to refer to "servant" or "devotee" elsewhere:
"while the sons [servants] 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] of the bridechamber 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. They all refer to people devoted in some way, to either God and the resurrection, "the kingdom," or to the bridechamber (Matt. 9:15 has also thus been translated to "attendants of the bridegroom" (NAV). And clearly, an attendant should be considered - at least at the time of Jesus - a servant.
To this we add other statements from and there are multiple references to "sons of God" among the English Bible translations:
In all the New Testament verses, the word "sons" is also 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."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)
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.
"... with him I am well pleased."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 obviously has to have a separate identity from the one who is trying 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. By this we can see that there is a 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:
"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.” (Matt. 22:37-40)