"may Your will be done" (Matt. 26:42)Did Jesus look forward to this event? Was Jesus a masochist or something? Certainly not. The fact that he first put his head to the ground and asked God to prevent this from happening (see previous verses, translations and commentaries) tells us clearly that Jesus was not looking forward to suffering.
But if it was God's will, he was willing to suffer on behalf of his teachings, his mission, his Lord God, and for those who might hear his teachings. His sacrifice was not so people could sin without consequence. He was not a "sacrificial lamb" so people could do what they want for six days a week and then be cleansed on the seventh.
Rather, Jesus was being persecuted at the hands of the Jewish temple leaders and the Romans. It was these demoniac persons who were responsible for Jesus' persecution. Jesus was merely accepting his fate, and wanting to stand up for his teachings.
This - standing up for his teachings - was Jesus' gift to humanity. We remember Jesus today because of his total devotion and dedication to his teachings.
So why did Jesus refer to himself as the Son of man?"
What the heck is a "son of man" and why would anyone call themselves that? Every male is a son of a man. This translated phrase has absolutely no meaning.
It is also such irony that the same professional translators and interpreters who have translated the Greek phrase υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου into "son of man" have also proclaimed that Jesus is the only son of God (as if God is so impotent that He could only have one son). So which is it? Is Jesus the only "son of God" or the "son of man" (son of a man)?
This irony and many others within the ecclesiastical translations of the texts of the Bible illustrate the lack of understanding these professional translators and their predecessors - the politically organized councils of Nicea selected by the Roman government in the Fourth and Fifth centuries - have regarding the identity and role of Jesus.
Why is their vision so weak? Because their focus has been on their own personal (professional) positions within the church, and the political authority of their institution. Their leaders are so concerned about their authority and power within the church that they have completely disregarded the Supreme Being - who was the focus of Jesus' teachings.
So what does the Greek phrase υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου - incorrectly translated into "son of man" - really mean? Let's break it down:
The first Greek word of the phrase is υἱός (huios). Depending upon the context, this word can have two possible meanings: it can mean "offspring" when the context is ones physical family, but there is also another use for the word. It can also mean, as taken from the Greek lexicon, "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower." In a historical context, this use was applied to a person who was devoted to another. Among devotional communities this word - the Greek υἱός and the Hebrew בן (ben) - was applied to someone who devoted their lives to a particular deity. And as that applied to the worship of the Supreme Being, a person who was devoted to God was referred to with this address.
This devotee also considered themselves subservient to the One they were devoted to. They thus also identified themselves as a servant of God. While the strict use of "servant" in the Greek can come from διάκονος (diakonos), διάκονος was used more to describe a slave, or forced servant. Someone who out of devotion voluntarily serves another serves with love and devotion. The emphasis here is devotion, not slavery - although sometimes Jesus metaphorically used διάκονος to emphasize subservience and humility.
Thus the translation of the Greek υἱός and the Hebrew בן in this context would most appropriately be "devotee," "devoted servant" or "loving servant." In this application, we could also refer to such a devotee or devoted loving servant of God as a "servant of God."
Consider a few uses of the Greek υἱός and the Hebrew בן (ben) with reference to devotees or servants of God.
the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. (Genesis 6:2)Jesus also used the expression:
when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. (Genesis 6:4)
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." (Matt. 5:9)Jesus' followers also used the expression:
"because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." (Romans 8:14)None of these uses are describing physical family "sons" of God. Therefore, they could only be using the second meaning of the Greek υἱός or the Hebrew בן, meaning a subservient, dependent follower, devotee or loving servant: A servant of God.
"The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed." (Romans 8:19)
"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus," (Gal. 3:26)
In fact, if we replace "son" with servant in all of the above verses, we find the meaning of each verse becomes clear. When we look at the objects of each verse, we find that servant is the more appropriate translation because each verse is describing devotion. Each of the subjects in each verse are being described as those who have devoted their lives to God. They are thus servants of God.
Let's show these same verses above with the correct translation:
the servants [or devotees] of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. (Genesis 6:2)Now we can apply this understanding to the Greek phrase υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου - incorrectly translated into "son of man."
when the servants [or devotees] of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. (Genesis 6:4)
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called servants [or devotees] of God." (Matt. 5:9)
"because those who are led by the Spirit of God are servants [or devotees] of God." (Romans 8:14)
"The creation waits in eager expectation for the servants [or devotees] of God to be revealed." (Romans 8:19)
"You are all servants [or devotees] of God through faith in Christ Jesus," (Gal. 3:26)
The Greek word τοῦ means "of." It is possessive.
Then the Greek word ἀνθρώπου (anthrōpos) means, according to the lexicon: "generically, to include all human individuals". This means that ἀνθρώπου would not be appropriately translated to "man", but rather, to 'humankind,' 'mankind' or 'humanity.'
The type of devotion or loving servant relationship here is one where the subject is looking out for the welfare of the other, rather than being a follower of the other. We can still consider this being devoted to another, but this devotion is for the welfare of the person. In this context, we can also appropriately translate υἱὸς to "loving servant" or more simply "servant" assuming devotion. Thus when we combine this with ἀνθρώπου meaning "humankind" or "humanity," we get:
The loving servant of humanity, or simply, the servant of humanity - again assuming the service is voluntary and performed through devotion.
So why is this important? It is important because Jesus was describing himself as a servant of all humanity. This humble self-description was also illustrated when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. He was showing them that his mission was - and hopefully the mission of his disciples would be - to serve the welfare of others by teaching to them and giving them God's message. He also indicated this clearly in his teachings:
"The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matt. 23:11-12)This is not the first time this expression was used by God's humble servants. David also humbly described himself as a "servant of humanity" (also incorrectly translated to "son of man"):
"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man [servant of humanity] that you care for him?" (Psalms 8:3-4)Job also referred to himself as a servant of humanity:
"how much less man, who is but a maggot - a son of man [servant of humanity], who is only a worm!" (Job 25:6)Ezekiel also described that God directly referred to Ezekiel as "son of man" [servant of humanity] nearly 50 times during their discussions. Here is the second of those:
He said: "Son of man [servant of humanity], I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against Me to this very day." (Ezekiel 2:3)We can see in this last verse that God is referring to Ezekiel as the servant of humanity as He is sending him out to teach to the Israelites, who were offending God.
And this makes it clear that Jesus also saw himself in the same way: As being sent by God to teach humankind, thus becoming the servant of humanity.
We see this clearly within the context of Jesus' statement above. Jesus is waking up his disciples who were sleeping because he is ready to show them that he is willing to be arrested in order to please God. He is ready to stand up for his teachings. He is ready to serve God and serve humanity by illustrating what real devotion and love for God means. He is ready to show everyone just how important loving and serving God really is:
"'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. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matt. 22:37-40)
(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.)