“The Servant of Humanity is delivered to the hands of men – and they will kill his body; and after his body is killed, he will appear on the third day.” (Mark 9:31)
What is a 'Servant of Humanity'?
Most versions translate the Greek phrase, υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (huios tou anthrōpos) to Son of Man.
But what the heck does "Son of Man" mean? Every male is a son of a man - so certainly there is no distinction in such a role or title.
Rather, this title is meaningless, because every single boy or man ever born in the world has been a "son of man." So why would Jesus describe himself like this? The reality is that "Son of Man" is a mistranslation.
Here is the breakdown of this Greek phrase:
υἱός (huios): according to the lexicon, this word can only indicate a relationship of offspring, "in a restricted sense."
Otherwise, according to the lexicon, it means "subject" or "follower." As stated in the lexicon, "one who depends on another or is his follower."
When this word is used in the context of spiritual teachings, the appropriate translation would be, "follower" or "servant."
τοῦ means "of" or "by."
ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos): According to the lexicon this means "a human being, whether male or female" or "generically, to include all human individuals." In other words, it means "mankind" or "humanity."
Thus, within the context of the self-reference of υἱὸς τοῦ [of] ἀνθρώπου, the more appropriate translation would be:
"Servant of Humanity"When a person is a government official whose job it is to work for the welfare of people, the reference often used is "civil servant" or "servant of the people." These are modern phrases that come close to the meaning of this phrase about Jesus, with the exception that Jesus' service is for the welfare of all of humanity.
We should also note that Jesus is not the only person given this reference in the Bible. We can also see this humble self-identification in David's referral to himself:
"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)This translation as "servant of humanity" is consistent when applied to other mistranslations of "son of man" throughout the Bible. In addition to David's admission, we also find the title given to Daniel, Job and Ezekiel:
"...how much less man, who is but a maggot— a son of man [servant of humanity], who is only a worm!" [Job, humbly referring to himself] (Job 25:5-6)
"He said to me, "son of man [servant of humanity], stand up on your feet and I will speak to you." " [Ezekiel referring to God calling upon him] (Ezekiel 2:1-3)
"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 2:2-4)
"He then said to me: "Son of man [servant of humanity], go now to the house of Israel and speak My words to them."(Ezekiel 3:3-5)(God refers to Ezekiel as the "son of man" [servant of humanity] over 60 times)
"As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. "Son of man [servant of humanity]," he said to me, "understand that the vision concerns the time of the end." " (Daniel 8:16-18)Thus, Jesus and other prophets such as David, Daniel, Job and Ezekiel could be referred to “servants of humanity” because they were devoted to helping others perfect their spiritual relationship with the Supreme Being. And this is why God referred to Ezekiel as a "servant of humanity."
Jesus gave himself this moniker because he too saw himself as a servant, focused on the welfare of all of us. This is because he delivered the message of love for God.
"they will kill his body"
The Greek word ἀποκτείνω (apokteinō) refers specifically to the killing of the body. The lexicon states this as, "to inflict mortal death." The word "mortal" here refers to the physical body.
This is important here because the person within - the spirit-person - of Jesus never died. Jesus would have never said that he - the soul or spirit - would be killed. Rather, only his body was killed. This is confirmed at the time that Jesus' physical body died on the cross:
Then Jesus cried out loudly, and his spirit passed. (Mark 15:37)This clearly indicated that Jesus' spirit left his physical body as his physical body died.
"he will appear on the third day.”
Some versions translate the next phrase to, "he will rise on the third day." Yes, the Greek word ἀνίστημι (anistēmi) can mean "to arise." But it can also mean, according to the lexicon, "to appear."
Within the context of Jesus' statement, he was not speaking of literally rising anyway. To be literally rising would mean that he would be up above them - not at eye level. As if Jesus would be floating up like a balloon or something.
No. Jesus is speaking of appearing before them after three days. Jesus would certainly return to the spiritual world after this - which could be considered a rising. But before he would return, Jesus appeared before his students. Why?
Why did Jesus appear again?
Why did Jesus appear before his students after his body died? Was he just trying to show off? Was he trying to prove that he was great? Did he forget to tell them something?
Why didn't he just take leave of them and return to God:
"But from this time forward, the Servant of Humanity will sit at the right hand of Almighty God.” (Luke 22:69)Because Jesus was trying to show his students and disciples that he didn't die when his physical body died. He was trying to show us that he is eternal, and every one of us is also eternal.
Jesus was trying to inform his students that we don't die when our body dies.
How do we know that Jesus' body died?
We know this because the guards that took Jesus' body down from the cross found his body to be dead:
But when they came to Jesus’ body and saw it was dead already, they did not break his legs. (John 19:34)The soldiers knew how to check for a dead body. They were soldiers so they understood the difference between a living and a dead body. If they were unsure, they would have broken a leg. If the leg had easily broken without resistance, they would have known that his body was dead. But they didn't need to, cause they could tell Jesus' body was dead. It was lifeless.
Indeed, we also know that Jesus' body was lifeless because afterward, Jesus' body was picked up and carried to the tomb, and all the guards and others observed that Jesus' physical body was lifeless.
Lifeless means the particle of life - the spirit-person who steers the physical body - is gone.
Jesus tried to teach his students over and over that we are not these physical bodies, and our body can be killed but the spirit-person continues to exist:
"And don’t fear those who can kill the body but are unable to kill the soul." (Matthew 10:28)
"Watch out and pray that you will not be tempted – for the spirit may be willing but the physical body is weak." (Matt. 26:41 and Mark 14:38)
“For this reason I say to you, don’t be anxious about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body and what you will wear. Is not the soul more than food, and the body more than clothing?" (Matt. 6:25)
"For this reason I tell you, don’t worry about yourself – or about your body: What you will eat or what you will wear. Because the soul is greater than food just as the body is greater than clothing." (Luke 12:22-23)
"It is spirit that gives life; the physical body provides no benefit." (John 6:63)
"That which arises from the flesh is flesh, and that which arises from the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6)
"But when you see your true self that existed before your body, which never dies nor becomes visible, how can you rely on it?” (Gospel of Thomas 84:2)
"For my mother bore my body, yet my True Mother gave me life.” (Gospel of Thomas 101:3)Jesus' students also taught that we are not the physical body:
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26)These all indicate that while Jesus' body was murdered, he - the spirit-person - did not die. He also did not rise from the dead because he never died in the first place.
He allowed his body to die, while eternal life clothes him. Having disrobed himself of perishable rags, he dressed in immortality, which no one can possibly remove. (Gospel of Truth 17)
The Master rose from the dead body. He became like himself, but his body became entirely perfect. He has a body but this body is indeed the true body. Our body is not true, but is rather a reflection of the true body. (Gospel of Philip 78)
Rather, Jesus simply left his physical body at the time of death when he was being persecuted. Then he manifested before his students days later to show them that he didn't die, and we are not these physical bodies.