Jesus is being questioned by the officials of the Jewish Temple - the chief priests, scribes and elders. Here was the questioning:
When daylight came, the council of elders of the people assembled, along with the chief priests and scribes. They led him away to their council chamber, and said: “If you are the Anointed of God, tell us.” (Luke 22:66-67 DT)One might wonder about "Anointed of God." The word here in Greek is, Χριστός. This has been variously translated to either "Christ" or "Messiah" among the various sectarian translations.
So why is it being translated to "Anointed of God" in the Gospels of Jesus?
Because the Greek word Χριστός means the "Anointed of God" or "Messiah." It is a synonym for the Hebrew word for "Messiah" or "Anointed of God" which is מָשִׁיחַ (māšîaḥ). This word literally means, "Anointed one" or "Anointed of God."
The word refers to the ancient ritual established by the Supreme Being, which symbolizes a person's personal commitment to God. As God instructs Moses in Exodus:
"Anoint them just as you anointed their father, so they may serve Me as priests. Their anointing will be to a priesthood that will continue throughout their generations.” (Exodus 40:15)This Anointing has been vastly misinterpreted among sectarian institutions. These institutions have mischaracterized anointing as being given the title of King of Israel. This is despite the fact that many who were not considered King were also considered Messiahs and Prophets.
Yet Exodus 40:15 - along with many other verses - tells a different story. One that refers to the process of anointing as accepting God's representative as teacher and committing one's life to God, giving one the ability to represent Him. Actually, we find this was a rite that was continued as baptism by John and Jesus.
But back to the question by the chief priests and elders: Why were they so interested in hearing whether Jesus was the Anointed of God or not?
This is because the Jewish doctrine of that time - which Jesus protested - was teaching people that the great Prophets (also considered Messiahs) were venerable but there were no more new Prophets. The Jews at the time were teaching that there was only going to be one more Prophet or Messiah who would be appearing. And this last prophet or messiah in the future would take place during what they referred to as the Messianic Age.
The Messianic Age, according to this Jewish sectarian doctrine, refers to some point in the future where there will be peace on earth. It will supposedly be a time when everything will be at peace, and this Messiah will rule the world.
Interestingly enough, many sects that claim to follow Jesus have actually inherited this speculative philosophy, but in the form of saying that Jesus will appear sometime in the future, and he will slaughter all the bad people, leaving the good people (who joined their sect) to "inherit the earth" and live in peace under the rule of Jesus.
Thus, ironically, the very philosophy that got Jesus crucified - the notion there would not be another Messiah until some vague date in the future - is being accepted by many who claim to follow Jesus.
Even more interesting is the fact that it has been 2,000 years, and still there has been no peace on earth, no Messiah coming and no Jesus second coming.
When will it occur then?
If we are to believe the teaching that Jesus will be coming sometime in the future, we should first understand that those who have professed this teaching have repeatedly predicted Jesus' second coming in error (See some of these predictions here.)
So the reason that the chief priests and elders were challenging whether Jesus was the Anointed of God - or Messiah - is that they believed the Messianic Age had not come.
But Jesus knew this was a false teaching created by those who had no authority to represent God.
There is no shortage of God's representatives through the ages. It is not as if God is limited by time or circumstance. God doesn't have to wait for some ordained period of time to send His representative. He can empower someone to be His representative at any time and place - so those who are interested in coming to know God can access Him. It is not as if for thousands of years, there is no representative of God. God's representatives (Prophets, Messiahs) have been appearing on the earth in every generation, providing those who are serious the ability to be re-introduced to God.
But Jesus knew these chief priests were not sincere students of prophets, nor were they God's representatives. They were only interested in gaining followers and having authority. They were not interested in serving God. Yet at the same time, they represented themselves as God's representatives, because they were teaching others, and claiming titles of chief priest and so on.
This is hypocrisy, just like those who teach that Jesus is the only teacher, yet they wear the robes and stand up on the pulpit and teach. By teaching, they themselves are claiming to be teacher.
Jesus understood this hypocrisy. Jesus was not a hypocrite. Jesus had accepted John the Baptist as Prophet - and thus Messiah. This acceptance was symbolized by his taking baptism from John.
Jesus himself said this of John the Baptist:
"Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet." (Matt. 11:9)Thus it is clear that Jesus accepted John the Baptist as Messiah - Representative of God.
And Jesus understood that he himself was empowered as God's representative - and thus Messiah - or Anointed of God.
This also explains why Jesus answered in this way when asked what gave him the authority to teach:
Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. "By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you this authority?" Jesus replied, "I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John's baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?" (Matt. 21:23-25)Why would Jesus bring up John's baptism when asked what gives him the authority to teach?
Because Jesus was baptized by John. John was Jesus' teacher. Thus receiving John's anointing, by God's representative.
Remember that the baptism or anointing ritual is symbolic. It is not that the water or oil in itself changes a person. Rather, the person has a change of heart and commits himself to God. The ritual symbolizes what takes place within the heart - on a spiritual level. It's not that a person will change from being dunked or splashed with some water. The change of heart must come out of free will - from within.
Now Jesus' answer to the chief priests above (Luke 22:69) illustrates how Jesus saw his role and position. This is very clear. Did Jesus say that he was God? No. Did he say that God is a void and he was God personified? No. He didn't say any of these - which sectarian teachers often teach.
Rather, Jesus clearly stated that he - the Servant of Humanity - would "sit at the right hand of Almighty God."
What does this mean? What does it mean to be at the "right hand" of someone? It means to be their assistant. To be their servant.
Just think of what a boss says when he calls someone "my right-hand man." What is the boss describing? He is describing someone who works on the boss's behalf. Someone who the boss can count on to do whatever he wants.
This is Jesus' role - coming right out of Jesus' mouth. Jesus is saying this. He is saying that he is God's "right-hand man" so to speak.
Notice also in the Gospels of Jesus, that Jesus is calling himself the "Servant of Humanity." This is translated from the Greek phrase, υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου - which has typically been translated to "Son of Man" by sectarian translators.
But what the heck is a "Son of Man"? Why would this be distinctive? Every human male is a son of a man, right? Why would Jesus call himself this?
The reality is, "Servant of Humanity" is a very distinctive title, also given to David, Job and Ezekiel. Read more about the translation of this phrase to Servant of Humanity.
Jesus was the servant of all humanity. He provided us with the Truth about the Supreme Being. The Truth that had been passed down from teacher to student through a lineage of God's representatives (Messiahs). What truth is that?
That we don't have to continue to be lonely here in this empty physical world. We have a Best Friend - Someone we can love and serve - the Supreme Being. Someone who loves us unconditionally. Someone who will always be there for us. Someone we can exchange a loving relationship with, who will never leave us or divorce us or die on us. Someone we can count on.
This was not only Jesus' greatest teaching. It was also his life. He dedicated himself to the Supreme Being. He gave his physical life for the Supreme Being. He sacrificed everything for the Supreme Being. Why? Because loving and serving the Supreme Being is worth it. It is why we were created in the first place.
This is why Jesus' most important teaching was also the most important teaching of Moses, and Joshua. And all of God's representative (Prophets / Messiahs):
"'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 and Deut. 6:5)
Biblical verses in this commentary are from the New International Version or The Gospels of Jesus (DT).