“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” (Matthew 20:18-19)

“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law."

Here Jesus takes the disciples aside to tell them of the coming events as they were traveling to Jerusalem. Certainly it is amazing that Jesus was able to predict this. Is it really that amazing, however? Jesus was the confidential servant and representative of God. In such a relationship, God can make certain facts about the future available to His loving servant. This is because it pertains to Jesus’ service to the Supreme Being:
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)
Jesus also himself as a servant of humanity. How so?

The Greek phrase that has been translated to “son of man” is υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. The Greek word τοῦ means "of". The Greek word υἱός (huios) might indicate a relationship of offspring in another context, but in this context we have to draw from the secondary meaning of υἱός (huios) which is, as taken from the Greek lexicon, "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower."

In this context, this relates to working for the welfare of another, or service. Furthermore, the Greek word ἀνθρώπου (anthrōpos) means "generically, to include all human individuals" (Greek Lexicon (1)(a) ) This would mean that Jesus is putting himself at the service (or "following") of humankind, or better, humanity.

In other words, instead of "son of man," υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου should be translated more accurately to "Servant of humanity."

David also referred to himself as the "son of man" [servant of humanity]:
"O Lord, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that You think of him?" (Psalm 144:3)
David is obviously using this reference to himself from a position of humility. David is considering himself a lowly servant of humanity, and why should God consider him?

We also find that the Supreme Being addressed Ezekiel as "son of man" at least 60 times in the Book of Ezekiel, such as:
“Son of man [servant of humanity], I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from Me." (Ezekiel 3:17)
In the same way, Jesus addressed himself humbly, as the servant of humanity. Yes, he was truly God's loving servant, but he was serving humankind as he taught God's message and tried to save people.

The reality is, all of the activities of Jesus were intended to please God and serve humanity. Even though Jesus knew he would be betrayed, mocked and tortured, he still kept traveling to Jerusalem. He could have easily stayed away and kept his body safe. But he continued out of his love for God and his desire to please God (see also "thy will be done" in the Lord's prayer).

"They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified."

Ecclesiastical sectarian teachings say that Jesus did all this so our sins would be forgiven. They say Jesus suffered on the cross so that we would be washed of the responsibility of our selfish actions ("sins"). That all we need to do is ceremoniously drink of Jesus' "blood" and we don't have to worry about the consequences of our selfish activities, even if those activities include maiming or even murdering people.

This is a simply a bending and twisting of the situation to fit self-centered motives - of both sectarian institutions and individual teachers and their followers.

Certainly Jesus’ sacrifice has the ability to relieve our sins. But only to the extent that we have a change of heart. Only to the extent that we realize that Jesus' sacrifice exhibited Jesus' loving relationship with God and his commitment to pleasing Him.

In other words, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for a Person - the Supreme Being. His commitment was to the Supreme Being. This is why, before his arrest, Jesus prayed:
“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)
In other words, Jesus' suffering was about his relationship with the Supreme Being. This is the message of this event. It is not about our sins.

But yes, because of the spiritual nature of this event, it does have the ability to purify our consciousness - and such a purification can relieve a person from a self-centered consciousness as well as consequences of previous choices.

Why is this, and how does this work? Let’s say that a man was put in jail for stealing. The man is sitting in jail because of what he did. In the U.S. at least, the man is always capable of being pardoned by the Governor or the President of the United States.

This pardon, however, does not come easily. It is not as though the man in jail can imagine that the Governor has pardoned him, and simply walk out of jail. There is a process, and that process must include the Governor's careful review of the man's situation, and an understanding that if the man is let out of jail he won't just go out and commit the crime again. In other words, the man has to show evidence of being rehabilitated. If the man simply gets out of jail and commits the same crime, the Governor will be at least partly responsible. Therefore, a pardon is not taken lightly.

The physical world was designed as a place of consequences. Every self-centered act has consequences. These consequences range, and depend upon the activity. Activities that make the bodies of others suffer create the future suffering of our body.

This also explains why there is so much suffering in the world - as many ask, "if God exists, why is there so much suffering in the world?". There is so much suffering because we commit activities that cause the suffering of others, and suffer the consequences as a result. Our bodies are bound to suffer the same fate we have inflicted upon others. This may take place during our current physical body, or it may take place in the next physical body (which is why some children are born into suffering).

The bottom line is that the world is conditional: Our situation is completely dependent upon our past activities ("As you sow, so shall you reap") and our consciousness. Are we saying that all we have to do is go through some ceremony where we drink some wine and stare at a cross and we will be relieved of the consequences for any and all the suffering we have caused others? Think again.

In fact, this gruesome ceremony where people imagine themselves drinking Jesus' blood in order to cleanse their sins has the opposite effect. It offends both God and Jesus. To use the sacrifice of Jesus in order to purify oneself is offensive. It is also offensive to wear the cross as a fashion statement. The self-centered use of God's loving servant and representative - and such a service as this, with so much pain involved - is particularly offensive. This is why Jesus 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 come 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. 7:21-23)
Jesus calls them "evildoers" even though they were calling his name and even healing and teaching in Jesus' name. This is precisely what so many sectarian institutions and their teachers proclaim.

Certainly, however, that same cross or that same image of Jesus' suffering can also be purifying to ones consciousness, should a person see from within their hearts, the extent of Jesus' love for God and his commitment to God within this activity.

But this will not have much value if the person simply returns to their self-centered consciousness. Jesus' sacrifice was intended to show us that ones relationship with the Supreme Being is more valuable than the life of the physical body.

"On the third day he will be raised to life!”

Jesus' sacrifice, and his appearance before his disciples after the death of his physical body was also meant to illustrate that we are not these physical bodies. We are the spirit-person within the physical body and we leave it at the time of death.

This is why Jesus uses the word "raised" here - translated from the Greek word ἐγείρω (egeirō) - meaning to "arouse" and "cause to rise."

What is rising? It is the life force - the living being who rises from the body at the time of death. This is what Jesus is referring to. (The Greek does not indicate the words "to live" in this verse - only "raised.")

And it is clear from the scriptures Jesus' physical body did not rise - rather, the spirit-person of Jesus rose out of the body that had been murdered. This is evidenced by the fact that Mary, Martha and other close disciples of Jesus did not recognize him when he first appeared to them - on multiple occasions. If he had rose in his physical body, he would have been immediately recognized, especially by those who had been so close to him. Instead we several verses indicating they didn't recognize him, such as this one regarding Mary:
... she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. (John 20:14)
Jesus confirmed this reality that he - nor we - are these physical bodies in his teachings:
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." (Matt. 10:28)
Jesus devoted his life to teaching about the spiritual value of the living being within and the need for us to dedicate ourselves to the Supreme Being. This is because Jesus had a spiritual relationship with God - a relationship that existed beyond the physical dimension. He loved God, and his sacrifice illustrated the extent of his love for God and his commitment to their relationship.

Jesus also instructed each of us to re-establish our loving relationship with the Supreme Being:
“ ‘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. 22:37-38)


 (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.)