The regulations of the hospital require a wheel chair for patients being discharged. A student nurse, found one elderly gentleman already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet, who insisted he didn’t need any help to leave the hospital. After a chat about rules being rules, he reluctantly let her wheel him to the elevator. On the way down she asked him if his wife was meeting him. “I don’t know,” he said. “She’s still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.”
Almost every human endeavor requires rules. I would hate to drive on a highway where there were no rules. Some people might drive on the left and some on the right. Stoplights would be totally disregarded and there would be no speed limits with no one to enforce them. What about restaurants with no health and cleanliness rules and no food inspectors. I think the world would soon slip into chaos. When I look out onto the church world that is exactly what I see. A group of churches in chaos. They can’t seem to agree on a set of rules. Every group has their own playbook with their own set of unique rules. I am convinced that this was not God’s intention for his church. Where did it all go wrong? I believe it went wrong when people started regarding people’s words (other than Jesus’) as equally divinely inspired. The words of Jesus overrule the words of anyone else and are the rules. Now let me prove it to you.
Jesus is “that prophet”
Way back at the time of Moses God told us he would send us a prophet like Moses except God would put his own words into that prophet’s mouth and therefore whoever did not obey “that prophet” would answer to God.
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.
Ok, how do we know that Jesus is that prophet?
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
That “listen to him is the key”. God ordered them (and us) to listen to him, also.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. Jesus is the prophet that speaks for God.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
He spoke with all authority because he spoke for God. No other person has had that authority in the same way throughout history.
Jesus identified himself as our sole pastor and teacher.
8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.
It is finished
When Jesus died on the cross his teachings and work were complete. He had finished his work.
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
Who comes after Jesus?
Was there anyone that was supposed to come after Jesus to teach or complete his message?
- “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. The Holy Spirit will only teach you the things Jesus already said to you.
One of the original Apostles John seems to agree
1 John 2:27
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
These four simple truths prove.
1 Who Jesus is and that he alone is the final authority now and forever.
2 Jesus is our sole pastor and teacher.
3 Jesus completed and finished his work here on earth in its entirety.
4 The Holy Spirit was the only one to come after Jesus as a help and comforter to the church.
So you ask, what of the twelve Apostles? The twelve Apostles of Jesus were the foundation stones of His church. First let’s recognize that the exact number is twelve. Not thirteen or fourteen. They were given the ministry to get the church started. They were charged with the great commission. several even wrote portions of the new testament. In Revelation 21:14 we are told that the twelve foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem will have inscribed in them the names of the twelve Apostles. It is obvious, that God attaches great importance to these twelve Apostles. They will be judges over the twelve tribes of Israel. So their words are of secondary importance only to Jesus’ own words. Now let’s clarify who they are.
1 Peter, also called Simon Peter and Cephus
5 Bartholomew, also called Nathanael
6 James the lesser (or younger)
7 Judas, but remember, he lost his office and it was given to Matthias who was a follower of Jesus from the beginning and therefore was a witness to everything. See Acts 1:20-26
8 Jude also called Thaddeus
9 Matthew also called Levi
11 Simon the zealot
These are the men tasked with starting the church. But remember they are men. They are commissioned by Jesus himself but are not infallible individually. Only Jesus holds that distinction. No one else is authorized to guide the Church. If the churches agreed to follow only the words of Jesus and make that our rule then we would be united under that one rule.