"And He has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man." (John 5:27)
Is Jesus saying that God gave him the ultimate authority to judge?Just as was misinterpreted in John 5:22, Jesus is not speaking about becoming the judge. He is speaking about being given the ability to select those who will receive his teachings. This becomes evident as we understand the original Greek texts:
δίδωμι (didōmi): According to the lexicon, this means to "bestow a gift upon another." Jesus is clearly saying that God has bestowed a gift upon Jesus. This was confirmed also in Jesus' previous statement. In other words, whatever powers Jesus has, they are bestowed upon him by the Supreme Being. Jesus is not claiming it isn't his own power, then. It is God's power, granted (δίδωμι ) to Jesus.
ἐξουσία (exousia): According to the lexicon this word means, "power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; a) leave or permission." This means Jesus is saying that God has given him a particular type of freedom. What kind of freedom?
ποιέω (poieō): According to the lexicon: "to make; a) with the names of things made, to produce, construct, form, fashion, etc." In other words, Jesus has been given the freedom to make or produce something.
κρίσις (krisis): According to the lexicon: "a separating, sundering, separation; selection." This indicates Jesus is being given the ability by God to make a choice or a selection.
What is this freedom to choose or select in the context of this statement? Before this statement, Jesus said:
"For as the Creator has life in Himself, so He grants His Representative life in Himself." (John 5:26)In this context, Jesus is stating that the Supreme Being has given him the ability to select others to whom he passes on God's Message - which gives life.
And what is that message?
“ ‘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)
What is a 'son of man'?The next phrase from Jesus' statement above, "because he is the son of man." makes no sense without an accurate translation* of Jesus' words into English. What is a "son of man" and why does that render him the ability to be granted this power of selection by God? Isn't every male a son of a man?
In other words, "son of man" is not the proper translation of υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου:
υἱός (huios) may be translated to "son" if the context were a father and son relationship known in families of the physical body. However, its alternative meaning from the Greek lexicon, and one better applied in this context, is "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower." And what is a follower or someone who depends upon another? This is a loving servant.
ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) has the following definition in the Greek lexicon: "1) a human being, whether male or female; a) generically, to include all human individuals." Since Jesus is not talking about a physical relationship of being a son of a particular man, we must use the alternate translation from the lexicon, "generically, to include all human individuals." In other words, humanity.
So where does this leave us with the Greek phrase υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (τοῦ means "of")?
In this context, it is more appropriately translated to:
"servant of humanity" or "servant of the people."
How does that apply to Jesus' statement?Jesus is stating that he has been bestowed by God the freedom to select others who will receive God's Message. This is because Jesus is the servant of humanity. Jesus' teachings are a service not only to God. They are a service to humankind. His life and his teachings served humanity because they gave us an understanding of God. And the ability to know how to return to God.
And because Jesus' purpose was in the service of humanity, God gave him certain freedoms to select others to pass this message to - who then, assuming God empowered them as well - would be able to pass this Message onto still others.
Consider an analogy. Let's say that you were a baseball coach who had a passion for teaching kids to play baseball. Because of that passion, over the years you were able to train many baseball teams to become champions. Based on this passion, a major league baseball team owner decides that he wants you to be the head coach of his major league baseball team.
When the coach gives you this position, he also gives you the freedom to select the players and also field the players the way you would like. So you make your selections and you train your players accordingly. Now the owner of the team has the right at any time to fire you. He also has the right to select whatever players he wants, and pay them whatever he wants. But he gives you certain freedoms because he trusts you and your judgment of players.
In the same way that Jesus made his statement, you, the new head coach could say: "The baseball team owner has granted me the ability to select and field my players as I wish, because I have a passion and skill for training baseball players." This statement makes sense because the authority given was based on the original passion and skill.
In the same way, God granted Jesus the ability to pick certain students to whom he gave God's Message, so they could also establish their own relationship of loving service with God. This was granted by God because Jesus had a sincere love for others. He saw himself as not only God's loving servant but also as a servant of humanity.
Thus we can more appropriately translate this verse to something like:
"And He has given him authority to select because he is the servant of humanity." (John 5:27)
Why is Jesus speaking in the third person?Notice also in Jesus' statement his third-person reference to himself. Was this a figure of speech not to refer to himself directly with "I" and "me"? Who talks like this?
For example, if a pilot was telling the passengers on an airplane that he is the pilot and will be flying the plane, would he say, "He is the pilot and the pilot will be flying the plane"? Such a statement would confuse the passengers. They would be looking for someone else besides the person who was speaking.
In the same way, if Jesus was speaking in the third person, then this would be confusing if what he was saying was solely his authority. In other words, Jesus is clearly stating that this authority is not solely his. Otherwise, he would have said, "And He has given me authority ..."
This is because Jesus is conveying that this empowerment and authority given by God is given to all of those loving servants who God empowers to represent Him.
This same authority was given to Moses, Abraham, Job, David, Solomon, Eli, Jeremiah, Jonah, John the Baptist and so many others (often referred to as "prophets") who were sent by God to bring us back to Him.
Jesus' indirect reference would be akin to a Lieutenant in the military saying something like: "The lieutenant is given his orders and authority by the general." In this way, the lieutenant is not only referring to himself. He is referring to everyone who takes on the position of being lieutenant. And like it, Jesus is referring to those who are empowered by God to be His representatives and messengers.
The erroneous interpretation of this verse has been made by those who have sought to portray Jesus as God and/or the only path to salvation. This interpretation began only a few generations after Jesus' passing for the purpose of organizing the Christian religion.
The Roman government transformed the Christian teachings into a political organization wielding power and influence throughout the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Europe and other regions.
This led to Constantine's Council of Nicea in the Fourth Century - where what we know today as the Bible was assembled and translated by scribes selected through a political process. During this process and thereafter, the Creed of Nicea was determined. And the official bishops of the church were politically appointed by the council to carry out the creed in their teachings. This political process of appointment by council continues to this day in most ecclesiastical churches.
This has nothing to do with Jesus' teachings. It has nothing to do with representing God or being authorized by and empowered by God to teach. And those who maintain this process are simply engaged in political positions oriented around securing the goals of their politically oriented sectarian organizations.
Didn't Jesus criticize sectarian institutions?Remember that Jesus complained about similar political organizations among the institutional temples of his time. He wanted nothing to do with the organized politics surrounding the institutional temples. They were governed by politically appointed high priests, Sadducees and Pharisees - who he characterized as wolves in sheep's clothing.
It is ironic and offensive to Jesus that some of his so-called followers have done the very same thing, and to this day maintain the various politically-assembled Christian churches and sects headed by professional teachers and administrators elected by councils of peers.
The interpretation that this indicates Jesus was God is ludicrous. God is never given authority by someone else, as Jesus is clearly indicating the authority was given to Jesus. God always has always been God and He is never given authority.
And Jesus is God's servant and messenger, and those who misinterpret this statement simply do not know God. This is why Jesus said:
"They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me." (John 15:21)
*Here is the translation of this verse according to the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
"And He entrusts him with the authority to choose because he is the Servant of Humanity." (John 5:27)