"For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name – because you belong to the Anointed of God [Messiah, Christ] – truly I say to you, he will never lose his reward." (Mark 9:41)One of the functional words in Jesus' statement comes from the original Greek word ὄνομα (onoma). According to the lexicon, this word can literally mean "name" or "of proper names." But it can also mean "the cause or reason named: on this account."
Just consider this from a practical view. If a person accepts something in the name of someone else, what are they doing? They are accepting that on behalf of that person. They are representing that person.
Let's use an example. Let's say that an ambassador goes to another country and visits with the government officials of that country. The ambassador is engaged by the president or prime minister of his own country to carry a message to the other government. But then let's say that the officials of the other country offer the ambassador a gift.
Why are they offering a gift to the ambassador? Because they recognize that the ambassador is representing the president or prime minister. This means that while the gift might be a personal item intended for the ambassador, they are doing so to honor the president or prime minister of the ambassador's country.
Now Jesus is talking about someone who gives a gift (the water) to his disciples - his followers, who are also his representatives. Jesus is saying that someone who does that is also honoring Jesus.
What is this? This is the process of representation, but also lineage. Succession. Jesus is speaking of his students becoming his successors.
The teaching succession of the Bible
This, in fact, is the backbone that is running through the entire Biblical scriptures. This is why Jesus often quoted the teachings of the Prophets, and why they also quoted each other.
This is also why Jesus accepted baptism (initiation) from another Prophet - John the Baptist. John the Baptist was the student of his father, the esteemed priest and Prophet, Zachariah. Zachariah was most certainly a student of a previous Prophet in a lineage of Prophets that included Ezekiel, Job, Jeremiah, Solomon, David, Samuel, Eli, Joshua, Moses, Isaac, Abraham and Melchizedek.
This is why David stated in Psalms about his order of priests:
The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Psalm 110 NIV)Jesus was also identified as a Priest in the order of Melchizedek by his followers:
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:20-21 NIV)Melchizedek is further described as "Son of God" [Representative of God]:
This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace." Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever. (Hebrews 7:1-3)
Melchizedek order misunderstood
Unfortunately, sectarian institutions have misunderstood this Priestly Order - this lineage of priests. They have incorrectly identified it as some sort of family tree succession through the Bible. They have incorrectly identified this lineage as some kind of "chosen" family - a dynasty of Jewish kings.
This interpretation was put forth first by Jewish sectarian scribes about 700 years before the arrival of Jesus. These Jewish scribes essentially manipulated the scriptures to prop up one of the Judean kings.
This was a political effort to heighten the authority of the king, to encourage people to fight on behalf of the king. The manipulation was intended to create this idea that those who supposedly descended from Abraham were somehow superior to other people.
This also created the opportunity for Israelites to claim to be "chosen by God" or the "chosen people" and thus were superior to others. As if God loved them more than He loved others or something. This "chosen people" helped encourage a strong defense of the Israelites' territories.
Yes - this was a manipulation of scripture. It was a fraud perpetrated by a tribal government in order to maintain its power and authority over that territory.
Once this manipulation was made, it was perpetuated by the temple institutions that followed. This was a primary reason why Jesus railed against the Jewish institution of his time.
The Church also did this
This is not a new development by any stretch. Many other leaders and their governments have manipulated scripture over the centuries to promote their kings or emperors. This has been found in certain dynasties among the histories of the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Chinese and so many other ancient cultures. Manipulation of other scriptures by governments has also been found in the modern era in some countries.
This is also the case for the Roman Catholic Church, founded by the Roman government. They took this concept of a "chosen people" and positioned Jesus as some kind of king of the 'chosen people.' They twisted scripture to indicate that Jesus was the ultimate king who was predicted by all the Prophets.
To support this, they twisted the generations of Jesus' theoretical ancestors in an attempt to make Jesus the Jewish king in a line of Jewish kings - and bent the translation of the Gospels to imply that Jesus was the "king of the Jews" - and thus the only true Messiah.
The only Messiah, King of the Jews manipulation
This was a weak attempt to manipulate scripture, however. There are so many holes.
For example, in the supposed genealogy described in Matthew, David and Abraham are connected to Jesus through Joseph (Matt. 1:16)
Yet later in Mattew 1, it says that Jesus was not conceived by Joseph, but by the Holy Spirit. Since David and Abraham have been connected to Joseph, Jesus could not be connected through the physical family to David and Abraham.
Then we find that many of those people listed in the supposed genealogies in Luke and Matthew were not even kings. Many were simply Prophets - teachers. And some were even persecuted by the king of their times. Furthermore, the supposed dynasties listed in the supposed genealogies in Luke and Matthew are completely different from each other. In other words, Luke's genealogy does not agree with Matthew's genealogy.
Scholars have also researched these and found that within each, some were not even father and son as assumed by the listing and its translation.
Furthermore, there is no historical or scriptural evidence that Jesus was considered by anyone as a legitimate king of the Jews.
In reality, Jesus railed against the Jewish sect and those priests and scribes who were part of that sectarian system. Eventually, Jesus' body was murdered, largely because of the Jewish high priest and his henchmen who influenced Pilate, who was in charge of Jerusalem. And it was the Jewish high priest's guards that had Jesus arrested in the first place.
So how could anyone in their right mind claim that Jesus was any kind of "king" - let alone the "king of the Jews" - or even the only Jewish Messiah?
The origin of Messiah
The Greek word Χριστός was not Jesus' last name as sectarian institutions assume today - as "Jesus Christ." And the word also does not mean "the only messiah" as many proclaim.
Rather, the Greek word Χριστός means "anointed" or "anointed with oil" according to the Greek lexicon. This, in fact, has its basis in the Hebrew word מָשִׁיחַ (mashiyach) - which also means "anointed" - used to describe a Jewish priest who was "anointed" by a previous priest, ultimately "anointed of God."
This means that the anointed priest was a successor to the previous priest: Someone who was mentored by that previous priest and who had committed their lives to the loving service of the Supreme Being.
Just consider these statements, with the word מָשִׁיחַ (mashiyach) being translated to "anointed" -
“Aaron’s sacred garments will belong to his descendants so that they can be anointed and ordained in them." (Exodus 29:29)Each of the above statements is described as being spoken by the Supreme Being. This means that not only were there many Messiahs in the Old Testament, but each was a successor to a previous Messiah - or "anointed priest."
"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)
"The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments." (Lev. 16:32)
From the verses above and many others, we find the word "father" repeated - as though each priest was the physical son of the previous priest. As we discussed above, this interpretation is based upon the manipulation of sectarian scribes and translators who have wanted to push the notion of a "chosen people" - which of course is nothing but racism.
Yes, it may be that some priests were the sons of a priest. But not always. For example, Samuel was not the son of Eli - who anointed Samuel. And David was not Samuel's son either.
The reality is that the Hebrew word being translated to "father" is אָב ('ab) - and this word can be translated, yes, to "father" but also to "originator or patron of a class, profession, or art" or "ruler or chief."
We can see through this thin veil of "fatherhood" as we see that even today, many priests are called "father" - even though they are not the genetic "father" of their congregation. They are in fact, seen as mentors or teachers - and this is why they are referred to as "father."
Why? Because the use of the word "father" for a priest originates from an ancient tradition among ancient languages - that has been used for thousands of years in different cultures. These traditions considered a spiritual master to be one's spiritual father. This is supported by the concept of being "born again" or "born anew" as Jesus described. Such a spiritual awakening can result when accompanied by the mentorship of God's Representative.
But then we find that in more recent centuries - notably by the Jewish sects prior to Jesus' arrival and then the Roman Catholic sect after Jesus left the planet - the notion of "father" has been more literally applied in order to manipulate the readers of scripture. This manipulation, again, is intended to carry out a particular interpretation. Again, the two central manipulations discussed above:
1) Among the Jewish sectarian institution in the centuries prior to Jesus' arrival (laid down around the seventh century BC): To portend that the Jewish race was the "chosen people" and are superior to other races and peoples around the world.
2) Among the Roman Catholic sectarian institution - carried out through the Nicene Creed and continued teachings of so-called Christianity along with the Protestant and other sects that followed: To put forth the impression that Jesus was the "king of the Jews" - the only Messiah and the only savior - allowing the Romans to use the Christian religion to establish their ultimate rule over Europe and the Middle East.
God is not a racist
The first notion of the Jewish sect - which by the way Jesus railed against as misleading the people - of being the only chosen people of God is simply a racist proposition.
The idea that God would only save one race of people while everyone else was condemned is to say that God does not love everyone. It suggests that God doesn't give everyone an equal opportunity to return to Him in the spiritual realm. This suggests that He is essentially unfair.
This, of course, is blasphemy. The Supreme Being loves everyone and wants each and every one of us to return to Him and return to our loving relationship with Him. And He guides us and gives us opportunities to progress in our journey according to our desire: Whether we are serious about returning to Him or not. To the level of our seriousness and sincerity, He gives us further opportunities to advance spiritually.
Jesus was not the only Messiah
Notice within the verse in Mark 9:41 above that Jesus uses the term Χριστός in the third person. Why doesn't Jesus use a possessive form of statement here?
Why doesn't he say "me" or "I am" here?
Jesus doesn't refer directly to himself with this term, even though he refers directly to himself when he says "my name." Why?
Because Jesus is utilizing the term as a role: A role that he has taken on, but also a role that others before him have assumed.
This is why Jesus refers to this term - not only in this statement but in many others - in the third person.
This is also why Jesus uses this term in context with the notion that his students will be his successors. He is encouraging them to also at some point assume the role of Χριστός - Anointed by God - Representative of God.
The "Anointed of God" [or Christ, Messiah] is being spoken in the third person by Jesus because it is a role. A position that he is currently occupying.
We might compare it to the role of General. The army might be led by a General - whom they refer to as "General!" But it is not as if he is the only person ever to hold the position of General. There have been other Generals in any particular army. Yet for those who belong to the General's battalion - yes, he would be their only General.
The real "Priest"
As portrayed in the Old Testament verses above along with Jesus' teachings, "Priest" is not just someone who does a bunch of rituals. A Priest is someone who represents God as he or she offers guidance to others. A real Priest typically first becomes a student of a Priest. Then that student may become a Priest if they become committed to serving God.
This has nothing to do with political appointment. Those who are appointed or elected as priests or cardinals or popes in sectarian institutions are simply playing politics. This has nothing to do with serving or representing God. Ultimately, only God can choose who represents Him.
This does not downplay the importance of Jesus - as those from sectarian institutions might suggest. The fact is that the Supreme Being is the only true savior - and those who represent Him are saviors because they represent Him. This ultimate greatness was portrayed by Jesus himself:
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30)In Jesus' statement in Mark 9:41 to his followers, Jesus is rendering the concept of succession. He wants his students to follow him and then teach others what he has taught them. He wants them to also please God and represent God.
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 7:16)