“What do you want me to do for you?” (Matthew 20:32)

Jesus said this to two blind men who sitting by the roadside as he was walking with a procession down the road:
As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. "Lord," they answered, "we want our sight." Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. (Matthew 20:29-34)

Was Jesus really the son of David?

According to this translation, the blind men greeted Jesus as "Lord, Son of David." Really? What does that mean? David lived nearly a thousand years prior to Jesus.

The Greek phrase υἱὸς Δαυίδ is typically translated to "son of David" in most versions of the Bible. But could they or would they accurately address Jesus as the son of David? Was David, who was born about 900 years before Jesus was born, really Jesus' father? How could that be so?

Or do they mean that Jesus was a part of the family genealogy of David?

Two books of the New Testament (Luke and Matthew) illustrate two yet different genealogies that theoretically connect David to Joseph. However, Joseph was Jesus' adoptive father. So Jesus was not actually a genetic relative of David assuming these genealogies. This means that Jesus' body could not even be the great-, great- (et al.) grandson of David.

Furthermore, the modern texts of the New Testament indicate that Mary was a virgin. This means what is termed the immaculate conception - meaning that Jesus didn't have a physical father at all.

If these points are true - how could Jesus rationally be called the "son of David"? And how could Bible translators logically translate this phrase to "son of David"?

Could 'son of David' be a mistranslation?

The word "son" in this phrase has been translated from the Greek word υἱὸς. 

Yes, this Greek word υἱὸς can mean "son" when used in the context of a physical family. But it can also mean,  "one who follows or is dependent upon another," according to the Greek lexicon. 

This latter meaning, according to Thayer's lexicon, translates to being a follower or a pupil. Furthermore, Thayer also evidences the use of the word in the context of being a representative.

In other words, the more appropriate translation of υἱὸς Δαυίδ is that Jesus was a follower of David, a student of David, or a representative of David within the context being spoken of in this conversation.

Jesus was not the physical offspring of David. Rather, he was in line with the teachings of David and was a follower of David's teachings. We know this because Jesus often quoted David. Jesus even quoted David during his last moments on the cross.

What about the genealogy linking Jesus to David?

Let's review the details of what was said above regarding the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38. 

In both Matthew 1:16 and Luke 3:23, we find that both genealogies are linking Jesus through Joseph.

Yet we also find both Gospels state that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. This means Joseph was not Jesus' father.

We also find that both Gospels suggest otherwise that Joseph, who was much older than Mary, was not the father of the child:
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18)
This would indicate that Joseph was not Jesus' father. Therefore, both genealogies are not portraying Jesus' ancestry.
We should also note that Matthew utilizes the terms υἱός, defined above; and γεννάω, a word that can mean "to begat or give birth" but also "imparting to them spiritual life" according to Thayer's lexicon.

This means that both of these supposed genealogies may have intended originally to describe the teaching lineage of Jesus - rather than Jesus' physical ancestry.

Regardless of the original intent, it is clear that for thousands of years, and among ancient Judaism, the teachings of love for God had been passed down personally from teacher to student. From devoted teacher to devoted student, the truth was passed on for centuries.

In some but not all instances, the student was also the physical son of the teacher, such as Jacob and Joseph. 

But then we find that Joshua was not Moses' son. Nor was David Samuel's son, or Saul's son. And Samuel was not Eli's son. And Lot was not Abraham's son. Nor was Melchizedek Abraham's father. Yet in all these and other instances the student was not the son of the teacher.

Genealogy has been highlighted among the translations of the Bible is rooted in the penchant among some institutional temples (which Jesus argued against) to establish the notion of there being a "chosen people." As though being born within a certain family gave one person greater rights to being devoted to God.

This notion is not only untrue historically as pointed out above. It also bears witness against the very nature of the teachings of the Prophets: That any one of us could devote our life at any time to the Supreme Being.

Indeed, each of us has the opportunity to worship God. The family our body is born into does not dictate that opportunity.

Servants instead of sons?

A follower, pupil or representative as noted above, would be an appropriate translation of the Greek word υἱὸς. These also yield another possible translation in the context of a devotional relationship. One of deference or service to another:
"The greatest among you will be your servant." (Matthew 23:11)
From Jesus' statement in Matthew 20:32, these are not the words of someone who feels in charge. Jesus did not greet the blind men as though he were their ruler or master. He spoke to them humbly, as he cared for that person's welfare: “What do you want me to do for you?”

This is a statement of someone who is in the service of another.

The concept that Jesus was a servant of God is supported by Jesus himself. In many instances, such a position was translated into the word "son" or "sons" when Jesus was referring to "servant."
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons [servants] of God. (Matt. 5:9)
"For they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons [servants] of God, being sons [servants] of the resurrection." (Luke 20:36 RSV)
Jesus also uses the word υἱὸς to refer to "servant" or "follower" 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)
"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 (Matthew 9:15 has also thus been translated to "attendants of the bridegroom" (NASB)).

To this, we add other statements from the and there are multiple references to "sons of God" among the English Bible translations:
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them the sons [servants] 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 [servants] 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 [servants] 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 [servants] 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 [servants] of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:7)

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

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons [servants] 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 [servants] of God. (Romans 8:14)

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons [servants] of God. (Romans 8:19)
These all point to "sons of God" being used to describe devoted servants of God.

Other statements in the Bible confirm this interpretation:
…the sons [servants] of God saw that the daughters of men 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 [servants] of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4)

Could Jesus be considered the servant of David?

This, of course, is also consistent with the translation of υἱὸς in context as described above. In various verses, υἱὸς is used in connection with God (υἱός τοῦ θεοῦ), with David (υἱός τοῦ Δαυίδ) and with all of humanity (υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου). (τοῦ means "of"). So rather than Jesus being the son of everything:
  • the son of David
  • the son of God
  • the son of man
Jesus actually saw himself (and others saw him) as their loving servant:
  • the servant (or devoted follower) of David
  • the servant (or devoted follower) of God
  • the servant of humanity
In the context of Jesus, we must add that the term υἱός τοῦ θεοῦ may be better translated to "Representative of God." This was also pointed out in Thayer's lexicon, "the Jews called the Messiah o vios tov Oeov pre-eminently, as the supreme representative of God."

Jesus was not simply pretending to be a servant. He sincerely felt that he was a servant of others and God. He took the lowest position. Remember, for example, when Jesus washed his disciples' feet. Jesus was not assuming the position of boss or master. He saw himself as a loving servant of God and humanity. And this is why he said to the blind men: "What do you want me to do for you?"

This means that Jesus is not God. He is the loving servant and representative of God. Like any loving servant, Jesus has a oneness with God because he is doing God's will. This means they are one in will. Thus Jesus spoke words from God. He represented God and did God's will. This means that Jesus was His exalted representative and loving servant.