Then we must question: If Jesus was speaking exclusively of himself here, why does he begin referring to the "Son" in the third person? This is quite an odd way for anyone to speak of themselves. Did Jesus really speak of himself in the third person?
This might be compared to someone named John talking to someone and saying: "John goes for a walk in the forest every day. John likes the forest."
Who would talk like this? Certainly, John would say, "I go for a walk...." and "I like the forest." Right?
Why Jesus refers to "son" in the third person
First, let's discuss the beginning of the verse. This verse continues from the previous verse, where Jesus said:
"I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what You were pleased to do." (Luke 10:21)We clarified the meaning of this statement within the linked article.
His first statement, "all things have been committed to me by my Father," seems quite straight forward, but is mistranslated. The phrase, "committed to me" comes from the Greek word παραδίδωμι (paradidōmi), which means "to give into the hands of another" and "to give over into one's power or use" according to the lexicon. This means that Jesus is really saying:
"have been given to me by my Father."
But did he really say "all things"? Does he mean that God gave Jesus everything in creation - everything in existence? That God is not God anymore because He gave everything to Jesus?
Don't be ridiculous. The Greek word πᾶς (pas) refers to "individually - each, every, any, all...." Jesus is speaking of something specifically - not everything in creation. The subject of Jesus' previous statement - what has been given to his disciples ("little children") has been given to him by the Supreme Being.
So a more appropriate translation would be something to the effect of:
"All these things have been given to me by my Father."
So this is Jesus' first-person statement in this verse. Then Jesus begins to speak in the third person. Is he speaking exclusively about himself in this next part, and if so, why would he suddenly begin speaking in the third person? He was speaking in the first person first. Why would he suddenly switch? Why not stay in the first person? Especially when it simply is not appropriate to speak exclusively about oneself in the third person, as the example above showed.
The key to understanding this relates to the mistranslation of the word "son."
The Greek word translated to "son" is υἱός (huios). As we've indicated before, this word can only be translated to "son" - "in a restricted sense, the male offspring (one born by a father and of a mother)" according to the lexicon. The lexicon goes further by explaining the use of the word outside of this as:
"used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower - of teachers - i.q. pupils."
"one who is connected with or belongs to a thing by any kind of close relationship."
"instructed in evangelical truth and devotedly obedient to it"
"one to whom anything belongs"
"those to whom the prophetic and covenant promises belong"
"The Jews called the Messiah υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ θεοῦ pre-eminently, as the supreme representative of God"Certainly this is the context in which Jesus is referring. A "follower" or "one who depends on another" is most certainly, a devotee, a loving servant, or in the case of someone being sent by God - representative.
This is what Jesus is describing here, and this is why Jesus also used this reference in the third person as he spoke of it. Because he isn't the only loving servant, devotee or representative of God.
Consider, for example, the 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 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)
Example of third person grammar
Let's say that a person is the President of the United States. And they are given a bill from Congress to sign. And let's say that the President vetoes the bill. The President might say, in defense of his vetoing the bill:
"Yes, I vetoed the bill. The President always has the right to veto any bill that Congress brings before him."
We see that the President certainly is speaking exclusively of himself in the first sentence - just as Jesus did. But then he switches to the third person when he refers to the office of the President because that right (to be able to veto any bill) is not his exclusive right - it is the exclusive right of any person who is occupying that office of President. And many others have and will occupy that office of President.
If it was that particular person's exclusive right - solely himself having that right and no one else - then he would have continued speaking in first person, saying something like, "I alone have the right of veto."
In the same way, Jesus first refers to himself in this verse - indicated in the Greek by the word ἐγώ (egō) which refers to "me" or "I" - in the first person. But then he goes on to discuss the inherent characteristics that exist between the Supreme Being and anyone who is God's confidential loving servant.
Knowing God is not exclusive to Jesus
Jesus is not saying that no one else but he knows who God is. This would by necessity be saying that Moses didn't know who God was. And Abraham didn't know who God was. And David didn't know God. And no one in the spiritual realm knows who God is. Would Jesus really be saying this?
In fact, this would also be contradicting the Biblical scriptures that described Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, and others walking with God and otherwise communicating with God. Certainly, they knew God as indicated by these texts.
Certainly, Jesus wouldn't be contradicting the very scriptures he treasured. This is evidenced by the fact that Jesus often quoted the teachings of these and other loving servants of God, as taken from the texts of those scriptures. Even Jesus' "first and foremost commandment" was taken from Moses' teachings.
Rather than Jesus' exclusively referring to himself as interpreted by ecclesiastical teachers, Jesus is referring to an exclusive situation that exists between every confidential loving servant of the Supreme Being and God. Let's thus translate this statement appropriately:
"No one knows who the loving servant is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the loving servant and those to whom the loving servant chooses to reveal Him."or
"No one knows who the representative is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the representative and those to whom the representative chooses to reveal Him."
Because the relationship is intimate.
Just consider what intimacy means. Intimacy refers to a relationship that is not seen by others outside the relationship. When a man and a woman have an intimate relationship, what goes on inside that relationship is not known by others. The co-workers of one of them certainly won't know about their relationship - unless of course one of them tells them.
And this is precisely what Jesus is referring to. Yes, Jesus is certainly indicating that he has an intimate and confidential relationship with the Supreme Being. But he isn't saying that no one else but him has ever had an intimate and confidential relationship with God.
Such a position would also render an additional description, together with follower, loving servant or devotee of God: That of being God's representative. One who is dependent upon God and is serving God will also represent God. This was Jesus' role - and the role of many who have been sent by God to teach us about Him.
What this is referring to is one of the characteristics of having a confidential loving relationship with God. Only the person who has an intimate, confidential relationship with the Supreme Being knows God, and only God truly knows the loving servant of God. Thus being God's representative would also be an appropriate translation of the word υἱός (huios) in the context of Jesus.
Others - who are not God's loving servants - might claim they know God or represent God. But they don't know God. Why? Even if they have heard a lot about God - even if they read all the scriptures - they still won't truly know God - unless they are God's loving servant.
Why? Because God reveals Himself only to those who sincerely seek Him. He only reveals Himself to those who desire to serve Him. Those who dedicate their lives to pleasing Him are eligible, and to these, He will reveal Himself.
Let's compare to those who doubt in God's existence, challenging God: "If You exist, prove it to me by revealing Yourself."
Does God reveal Himself to these people? Certainly not. But why? Why wouldn't God want to prove He exists to doubters and challengers?
The Supreme Being doesn't have to prove anything to anyone. People who need to prove themselves are those who want to appear to be someone they are not.
The Supreme Being - the Omniscient Person who controls everything - does not have to prove His existence to anyone.
It is always His prerogative to show Himself or not. And God only reveals Himself to those He feels are ready to see Him.
Why doesn't God appear to all of us?
He could if He wanted to. Those He doesn't reveal Himself to don't want to see Him. We may say we want to see Him, and even sometimes demand He show Himself, but we really want to hold on to the belief that He may not exist.
This is because if He might not exist, then we won't have to serve Him. We have an excuse to chase our self-centered desires. If He might not exist, then we can continue to strive to be the hero, the superstar, the all-time greatest, the champion of the world.
But should He reveal Himself to us, we would have to give up these aspirations. Why? Because if God truly revealed Himself to us as He is, we would realize that He is the only true Hero, Superstar, All-time Greatest, and the Champion of the World. By seeing Him, we would know that only He could occupy these posts. We could never hold those positions.
So the Supreme Being has given us these temporary physical bodies and these tiny circumstances surrounding us because we desire to be in the role of hero, superstar, champion and all-time greatest person. We want to get away from God. We want to be able to ignore His existence. We reject our role as one of His servants. So He gives us this temporary world and these temporary bodies to play out our fantasies.
So for Him to suddenly reveal Himself to us would wreck our fantasy that we are so great.
But this world isn't simply fantasy. This physical world does exist - despite the speculations of some who claim this world is only the product of our mind and our mind is all-powerful. If it was the product of our mind and our mind is all-powerful, then why can't we fix the problems of this world? Why can't we remove violence, starvation, wars, disease, old age, death?
Because the physical world is not a product of our mind. Our mind is a product of the physical world.
Yes, the physical world is a real place and we are really here in these temporary physical bodies. Just as a movie is real in that there are real actors and real cameras shooting the movie, the physical world is real in that we are in these bodies playing these temporary roles. But just as the movie is a fictitious remake of real life, the roles we play in the physical world are fictitious (and perverted) reflections of our real selves.
The reality is that we are all, by nature, loving servants of God. Beneath our temporary false identities - beneath these temporary physical bodies - each of us has a unique and intimate relationship with God. But we rejected that relationship. And this is why we are here, away from Him. We are in effect, hiding from God and hiding from our relationship with Him. God simply completes the process by completely covering us up so we cannot see Him, allowing us to forget His existence.
And this is why this world is dosed with the reality of suffering. We all suffer here, not just our physical bodies, but we suffer from loneliness as we try to live without our Best Friend, the Supreme Being.
And all the physical suffering of the physical world is founded upon this loneliness - this emptiness within. As we attempt to fill our empty hearts with so many physical things - from money to sex to fame - we create suffering for ourselves and others.
And this emptiness, in fact, is the cause for all the suffering in the world - the suffering created by violence, hunger, disease, old age, and death. These are all created by our lonely continuous search for happiness where there is none. Suffering is created by our desire to get away from the Supreme Being - and try to make this wasteland of the physical world our home.
The only way home - as Jesus is indicating here - is via our being re-introduced to the Supreme Being by one of His loving servants. God's loving servants enjoy an intimate relationship with Him and through this intimacy, they can also introduce others to Him. This is reflected by Jesus' statement:
"no one knows who the Father is except the loving servant and those to whom the loving servant chooses to reveal Him."
Introducing to God
Only someone who enjoys a confidential loving relationship with the Supreme Being can introduce others to the Supreme Being.
This is like any other relationship. Could we get to know the President of the United States on a personal basis without being introduced to him by someone who already has a personal relationship with the him? No.
But if we had a personal relationship with someone who hung out with the President personally, it would be a cinch. The person would say, 'hey, let's go hang out with the President. He's my friend.'
And the President would certainly open himself up to such a friend of one of his personal friends. Why? Because this is one of the universal laws of relationships.
Why are these universal laws of relationship? Because all relationships stem from the original relationship between the Supreme Being and His children.
The bottom line is that Jesus is not only speaking of himself being able to introduce God to others. Remember that he is responding to the fact that his disciples just returned from teaching to others. He sent 72 of his disciples off to different villages to teach. How were they able to teach others, and give God to others?
Because they had become part of the linkage that exists between God and His loving servants. Jesus had introduced them to God, and they could then introduce others to God. This is the system among those who become devoted to the Supreme Being.
We can see this system inherent in the teachings of Moses, which were then reiterated by Moses' disciple Joshua, and later by Jesus.
Check out Moses' teachings in this respect, as he attempted to introduce his students to the Supreme Being:
"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:5)
“Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, His decrees, His laws and His commands always.” (Deuteronomy 11:1)
“So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today – to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 11:13)
“If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow – to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to hold fast to Him – “ (Deuteronomy 11:22)
“…because you carefully follow all these laws I command you today – to love the LORD your God and to walk always in His ways – “ (Deuteronomy 19:19)
“For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws” (Deuteronomy 30:16)
“…and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the LORD is your life...” (Deuteronomy 30:20)
And Moses' disciple, Joshua passed on the same teaching:
“But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to obey His commands, to hold fast to Him and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.” (Joshua 22:5)
“So be very careful to love the LORD your God.” (Joshua 23:11)
Further down the lineage, we find David taught the same essential teaching:
“Love the LORD, all His saints!” (Psalms 31:23)
“Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for He guards the lives of His faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalms 97:10)And of course Jesus taught the same primary teaching to his own students:
“‘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.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’" (Mark 12:30)
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’" (Luke 10:27)Why are these teachings so similar? Why do they each impart the same essential invitation to love the Supreme Being? Because they come from those loving servants who each enjoy a confidential loving relationship with the Supreme Being.