Jesus didn’t come to make a religion. He didn’t come to establish rules of who was in charge. God is in charge. God is the teacher. But then, as now, people can’t handle that. They want to have proof, and documentation, and certificates of training. They want to control and limit. Jesus wanted nothing to do with that.
In Mark 11:27-33 we read about an interaction between Jesus and the authorities of the day.
“27 Again they came to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him 28and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?’ 29Jesus said to them, ‘I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me.’ 31They argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven,” he will say, “Why then did you not believe him?” 32But shall we say, “Of human origin”?’ -they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet. 33So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’”
Even Jesus was questioned. How could he possibly have the authority to heal people and to forgive them their sins? This was radical. This still is radical. Healing? Without medical training? Forgiving sins, without theological training? Are you kidding?
Then others started taking Jesus’ lead. They realized that they had the power to heal too. This concerned the disciples.
In Luke 9:49-50 we hear this conversation between Jesus and his disciples – 49 John spoke up, “Master, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t of our group.” 50 Jesus said, “Don’t stop him. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally.”
Perhaps this is how we got to where we are today. Jesus’ disciples didn’t like the idea of someone else getting in on the action. This was their thing. This was special, and they’d left their homes and jobs and families to join him. They were in the club. Then these strangers started doing what they were supposed to be doing, and they got angry. I suspect they thought “How dare they – they aren’t part of our club!”
But Jesus didn’t come to create a club, or a clique, or a church full of rules. Jesus came to wake us all up. Jesus came to let us know that we all are children of God, and we all can call on Him. With Jesus, we can heal the wounds of the world.
Then Jesus says in Matthew 23:8-12
8 “But as for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.9 Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called masters either, because you have one Master, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
So why do we have ordained people? Why do we have priests and ministers, who are set aside and separate? Why isn’t everyone trained, instead of just a few? How much of this is about control?
What of this is in line with what Jesus taught?
Jesus called us all to be part of the Body. We are all to work together. No one is greater than another.
In Matthew 20:16 we hear this from Jesus – 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”
We aren’t to raise ourselves up over each other. We are all equal in the eyes of God. We are all called to love and serve the Lord.