Here Jesus is continuing to answer to those Jewish chief priests who have arrested Jesus, and are questioning him as to his position and authority.
Why are they questioning his authority? Is Jesus not also a rabbi? Is Jesus not also teaching about God - the same Supreme Being that the Jewish priests supposedly taught about?
Furthermore, is Jesus not teaching the same teachings taught by Moses, David and other Jewish prophets - the very same prophets that the Jewish chief priests supposedly represented in their teachings?
The problem is that Jesus' teachings threatened their authority. The chief priests were appointed by the Jewish temple hierarchy during that time. Jesus was not. Jesus was simply a student and disciple of John the Baptist, who was himself a student and disciple of his teacher, the priest Zachariah.
Because Jesus was not part of their ecclesiastical hierarchy - and did not teach according to their ecclesiastical teachings - Jesus threatened their authority.
Why did Jesus threaten their authority? Because Jesus was attracting many followers who saw the truth in Jesus' teachings. Jesus was taking followers away from the Jewish temples. And this means Jesus was taking their income and followers away.
You see, the Jewish priests were professional priests. They collected salaries for their positions from the temple organization, and lived in comfortable quarters, all supported by monies brought in from followers - which were not always voluntary:
"Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely." (Mark 12:38-40)In other words, when a head of household died, the Jewish temple organization took the house and belongings into their coffers.
And we can see Jesus' other issues with these professional priests. Their concerns were centered around their reputation. They wanted to be honored and respected. They were not interested in glorifying and serving God. They were interested in their own authority and reputation.
In contrast, Jesus walked the countryside with no home and no income. He survived on whatever was given voluntarily in service, and spent his time glorifying God and teaching about love of God. He had no organization for people to join. They either followed his teachings or they did not.
So in Jesus' answer to these priests, he clarifies his position in relation to the Supreme Being and the spiritual realm.
Jesus was not saying that he literally sits at the right side of God, as though the Supreme Being is always just sitting around on a throne all day. This expression ("right hand" - translated from the Greek word δεξιός (dexios) meaning not only "right hand" but "a place of honor or authority" referring to the honor given by the person who is the right hand of - has been used for thousands of years to denote a person who is in a direct servitude position to a person in charge.
To "sit at ones right hand" means to directly serve the person in charge. It means to carry out their wishes. Nowadays, the head of a company or institution might call someone who is committed to them and carries out their orders as "my right-hand man."
And when that head of company or institution is away, the "right hand" person is typically given authority to represent that head of company or institution.
Jesus is stating clearly that this is his role. He is God's trusted servant and His representative. Jesus is carrying out God's wishes.
Furthermore, the last phrase in Jesus' statement has been mistranslated and subsequently misinterpreted.
The word "coming" is being translated from the Greek word ἔρχομαι (erchomai). This word can mean to "come from one place to another" according to the lexicon, but it also means "to appear, make one's appearance, come before the public" according to the lexicon. And in its metaphoric use (and we can confirm Jesus' use of metaphor in this statement by the "right hand" phrase), it means "to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find place or influence."
Now when we put this together with the concept of "clouds of heaven," how could a person "come" on the "clouds of heaven"? Does this even make sense? Ecclesiastical Christians have drawn up this image of Jesus leaping on clouds, as though the clouds are approaching and Jesus is leaping from them.
This might make for good art, but it is not what Jesus is talking about. We've now taken many planes and spaceships through the clouds and we can see that heaven is not in the clouds, nor are there people walking around or sitting on the clouds as often imagined.
Rather, the word "clouds" is being translated from the Greek word νεφέλη (nephelē), which refers to "cloud" as an envelopment or atmosphere.
There must be an understanding of the spiritual realm here. The type of "cloud" Jesus is referring to in "clouds of heaven" refers to the atmosphere of the spiritual realm.
And "coming" is a mistranslation by ecclesiastical sectarian scribes intent on trying to insinuate a "second coming" teaching that combines with an artificial apocalypse scenario to keep parishioners scared into coming to church. The bottom line is that Jesus is simply telling them that the next time they see him, they will see him appearing within the atmosphere of the spiritual realm.
Just think of what happens when we are in an airplane, and stuck in a cloud. What happens? We become immersed into that cloud. We become enveloped by the cloud. This immersion or envelopment describes those living beings who reside in the spiritual realm. They are enveloped or immersed in the atmosphere of the spiritual realm.
And what is the atmosphere of the spiritual realm? Consider the requirement to enter the spiritual realm:
"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." (Matt. 7:21)We can see here clearly that the atmosphere of the spiritual realm requires one to do God's will. Why would someone do God's will? Love. The residents of the spiritual realm cherish and love the Supreme Being, and this drives them to please Him and do His will.
Jesus also teaches of another characteristic of the spiritual realm:
"Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:4)By this we can see that humility is also part of the environment of the spiritual realm. Its residents maintain the ultimate humility. And this is why Jesus also clarified that the ecclesiastical Jewish priests would not be entering the spiritual realm anytime soon:
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to." (Matt. 23:13)Jesus is condemning these priests because they are not humbly representing or serving God. They were misleading people.
One might then ask, wasn't Jesus being self-righteous as he called himself "son of man" and spoke that he would sit at the right hand of God?
Actually, it is quite the opposite. First, "son of man" has been grossly mistranslated. What is a "son of man" anyway? Every male is a son of a man. So this has no real meaning translated as such.
Rather, "son of man" is being translated from the Greek phrase υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. The first Greek word, υἱὸν, can indicate an offspring relationship within the context of a physical family, but Jesus is not referencing a physical family here - otherwise he would be referring to his physical father.
Rather, the appropriate translation of υἱὸν in this context, according to the Greek lexicon, relates to "one of the posterity of any one" and "one who depends on another or is his follower." Thus, υἱὸν can be boiled down to either "follower," dependent, "disciple," or "servant." In other words, it is a humble, self-deprecating statement relating to devotional servitude.
The Greek word τοῦ indicates possessive, and is appropriately translated to "of".
The Greek word, ἀνθρώπου can be translated to "man" as well as "mankind" or "humanity" according to the lexicon. "Mankind" or "humanity" are most appropriate within the context.
Thus, the more appropriate translation of υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπουm is:
Servant of humanity
This is consistent with Jesus' other statements elsewhere that he has come as a service to all of humanity. Jesus also spoke of himself as a servant to others, and he also instructed his disciples to serve others:
"Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant." (Mark 10:43)This humble self-reference as the servant of humanity was not limited to Jesus. Other messengers of God also referred to themselves in this same way:
"O Lord, what is man that you care for him, the son of man [servant of humanity] that you think of him?" (Psalm 144:3)While some have tried to misinterpret David's statement as referring to Jesus, the verses surrounding this make it obvious that David is referring to himself as the servant of humanity - pleading humbly as to why God would even consider him.
Job also humbly referred to himself as a servant of humanity when he prayed:
"how much less man, who is but a maggot - a son of man [servant of humanity], who is only a worm!" (Job 25:6)God also referred to Ezekiel as the servant of humanity over 60 times, with statements such as:
"He said to me, "son of man [servant of humanity], stand up on your feet and I will speak to you."" (Ezekiel 2:1)and
"He [God] 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)In this last verse, we see that God referred to Ezekiel as the servant of humanity as He was sending him to teach to the Israelites on His behalf. This is the quintessential servant of humanity: Sent by God to help (as a service to) humankind.
Jesus also referred to himself as being sent by the Supreme Being:
"I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the One who sent me." (John 7:33)and
"My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him who sent me." (John 7:16)and many others.
Thus we find within Jesus' answer to the Jewish priests a true yet humble statement about his position and authority. He didn't consider himself a big powerful high priest out to capture the respect and admiration of others, as were the Jewish priests. He saw himself simply as a humble loving servant of God and a servant of all humanity.
And his service was to request we also become loving servants of God:
“‘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.)