“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.
Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.”
– Matthew 23:8-10 NASB (Jesus speaking)
We are all brothers and Jesus is God. Yes, it’s that simple…but we just keep complicating it.
Institutional Christianity calls for submission to popes, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, overseers, superintendents, pastors, and on and on. There are more titles and funny hats than anyone can count. There is hierarchy everywhere – defying what Jesus is here teaching.
God’s time for institutional religion was the Old Testament. He established a nation from Pharaoh’s slaves who were descendants of Abraham. In that nation, He ordered construction of a tabernacle in the desert and, later, a temple of Jerusalem, in which animal sacrifices were to be offered. That was a time for hierarchy, for there had to be order in the worship of God. That time passed with the coming of Jesus the Messiah.
The New Testament depicts a transitional age – churches sprouting up, which were local gatherings of believers, existing for the purpose of relating and celebrating the truths that Jesus had sent His apostles to proclaim. These assemblies were a transformational bridge from the hierarchy of the old covenant to the one-on-one relationship between God and man that is the new covenant.
We live after the New Testament age – that is, after the church age. We live in the kingdom age, the eternal age. God relates to individuals – to each of us as His children. All human beings are Christ’s children. He spilled His blood in payment for us all. The Islamic terrorist who is trying to kill us is a brother who’s gone far astray – not an outsider to God’s love.
We shouldn’t see humanity as divided between Christians and Non-Christians. Rather, we should see it as one very big family – with varying degrees of obedience among the children. God is not comparing you to your brother; He’s expecting you to live up to what you know is right.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Father in heaven, show me how to be a more obedient child today. Forgive me my sins as I forgive my brothers their sins. Help me be a good example to my more disobedient brothers. Let me never think of myself as more important than any of them…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.