As in the children's rhyme, Humpty Dumpty, all the kings horses and all the kings men could never put creedal Christianity together again if one statement by Jesus was actually grasped and absorbed by all those millions of people who want to follow Jesus but have been presented only with confusion by ecclesiastics past and present.
What crucial insight will these words of Jesus give us? Simply this - Jesus was not God, or any part thereof. He was not equal to God in any way except as it pleased God to make him so. He was one of us, human in every way, born of normal parents in a perfectly normal fashion.
The post-apostolic creeds were formulated by men whose minds were set in the key of a different structure, whose prevailing religions were those of Hellenism and Latinism. The creeds have nothing whatever to do with the Israelite Jesus of Nazareth, or his followers, or those who wrote the New Testament.
The creedal Christianity of almost two millennia is the greatest confidence trick in all of human history. It has placed "heavy burdens and grievous to be borne..." on the backs of millions with its insistence on right belief and obedience to the Church rather than obedience to God.
These words of Jesus are the vital key to understanding many passages in the New Testament:
"...Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’? “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?" (John 34:36)
Those to whom the Word of God came were themselves regarded as "gods." A simple concept fatal to the complexity represented by Christian Orthodoxy.
Jesus was quoting Psalm 82:6
"I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are sons of the Most High."
There can be no greater authority to turn to than Jesus himself. On his testimony, those to whom the word of God came were themselves 'gods' e.g. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:9), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:7), Shemaiah, Elijah, and Moses (1 Kings 12:22, 17:24, 8:53). This differed from the pagan concept in that the men themselves had no claim to divinity.
Actually, every prophet was a 'god' in this sense because they were all men to whom the word of YHWH came. This was not obvious to their contemporaries, for all were persecuted and despised. The apostle James exhorted his fellows -
"Take, brethren, for an example of suffering and of patience, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord." (James 5:10)
Those who persecuted them did not do so because they wanted to persecute prophets of YHWH: they fondly believed that these men were pretenders and they judged by what was apparent to the eye. They did not or could not perceive the reality underlying appearances.
When the Bible talks in terms of "hearing," "seeing" or "speaking face to face" with God, it is meant to be understood in a symbolic. It would not be apparent that God had "spoken" to or "taught" a prophet.
The greatest lesson to be learned from the crucifixion of Jesus and the sufferings of the prophets is never to judge by appearances (John 7:24). The doctrines which have been built up around the person of Jesus destroy the application of this lesson, for they make it appear that it is Jesus' value in the sight of man that is important, whereas his true value - and that of all makind - is value in the sight of God.
Even though Jesus and the prophets - judging by appearances - were not sent by God, the condemnation of those who condemned them is in the words which they spoke and the works they performed. Those who wore soft raiment were in the service of Kings, not in the service of YHWH.
Creedal Christianity has certainly been given a long enough period of grace to come to the truth. It has deceived so many for so long and has so perverted the message of the gospel that just as the millstone in Revelation, so it will certainly be cast down by the working out of divine justice. (Revelation 18:21)