Which Jesus Are You A Disciple Of?
Updated: Aug 9, 2020
“Why, then, do you call me ‘Lord! Lord!’ but do not do the things I say?” - Luke 6:46
Not sure what is meant by the question “which Jesus?” Here's a link to nice little breakdown someone put together of a few popular conceptions of who Jesus is. As the gentleman points out in his brief comments “they are all imaginary friends to which people have given the name Jesus.” As we all know there is a seemingly endless number of different religions and churches that claim to be “Christian” making them professed disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Perhaps the two most prominent organizations that claim to have exclusivity on truth and an accurate comprehension of the Scriptures are “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”, and the “Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.” If you are in anyway associated with either of these religious groups this is a must watch video. It's about 10 minutes of back to back video clips of LDS and JW leaders making identical claims to exclusivity in representing Jesus, though “Jehovah's Witnesses” skip past Jesus and go directly to representing Jehovah.
One constant, expressed across the board by everyone professing faith, is “I know Jesus.” However Jesus himself said when he returns this is how he will have to address the majority who arrogantly approach him boasting of their intimate association; he said; “I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me.” Those of us who have read Jesus words, and know him to be a true prophet, take what he said to heart. Indeed who among us has ever met the Lord?
Our brother the apostle Paul did have the privilege of briefly conversing with Jesus and even he expressed the intimacy of his relationship this way; “For now we see in hazy outline by means of a metal mirror, but then it will be face-to-face. At present I know partially, but then I will know accurately, just as I am accurately known.” Like the rest of us Paul understood that he was “accurately known.” Our Father knows every inclination of every thought that ever passes through our minds, and as our mediator the Lord Jesus Christ likewise is familiar with our every thought. The first step in our intimacy with them is a basic comprehension of this fact, that we are indeed “accurately known.” Nevertheless, our knowledge of them is in no way comparable to their familiarity with us.
Absolutely everything we know about our Lord Jesus we must glean from the Bible, and within its pages there is much to take in. However, from the beginning professed religious authorities have continuously attempted to distort who Jesus is and what he taught. The Jewish “Governing Body” known as the “Sanhedrin” had their own ideas of what was the truth and how Jehovah wanted to be worshiped. What Jesus brought forth as a prophet was something new and different in comparison with the religious doctrines the Sanhedrin was teaching. They hated the changes Jesus was making to their religion so much that they condemned him as an apostate, disfellowshipped him, and handed him over to the Romans after falsely accusing him of sedition so that he would be executed.
People love their religions and formalistic ways of worshipping God. Jesus referred to it as though it were a wine they had become accustomed to drinking. He knew that any of us that would be his followers would have to abandon that in lieu of the new teachings he was introducing. In summing up his illustration he observed “no one after drinking old wine wants new, for he says, ‘The old is nice.’”, and so it is. It is extremely rare that anyone associated with any of these religions will set aside their assumed knowledge and look to the truth as Jesus expressed it within the pages of God's Word the Bible. Instead they prefer the private interpretations of it handed to them by their organizations “Governing Body”, as they say “the old is nice.”
An expression we constantly here from fellow “Jehovah's Witnesses” when we highlight anything Jesus said that contradicts a Watchtower doctrine is, “you don't think you know more than the Governing Body do you?” It is almost comical because across the globe we get this condescending question thrown at us practically word for word. The shame of it is that what we are sharing with them is not our own words or ideas, we are presenting what the Lord Jesus Christ said and this is the response they give us. In truth they are saying 'Jesus doesn't know more than the Governing Body does he?' Although they would never admit to viewing it that way.
If we are indeed followers of Jesus as he is presented in the Scriptures than this type of response from members of our "religion" is to be expected. Jesus experienced constant opposition and persecution from other worshipers in his religion. He told us pointedly, "‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you." (NLT) One of our brothers put it this way "when we get persecution I guess it’s time to welcome it, because following Jesus words instead of the governing body’s means we’re doing the right thing! Persecution for righteousness sake!"
This treatment of Jesus and his disciples was prophesied about in the 66th chapter of Isaiah
The prophet wrote; "Hear the word of Jehovah, you who tremble at his word: “Your brothers who hate you and exclude you because of my name said, ‘May Jehovah be glorified!’ But He will appear and bring you joy, and they are the ones who will be put to shame.” Indeed they imagine that they are 'glorifying Jehovah' by condemning us and the truth we are presenting to them from the Holy Scriptures. Instead they chose to honor the teachings of the "Governing Body."
They are disciples of a different Jesus than the one we know. They embrace the one presented to them by the “Governing Body” and we follow the Lord as our Father presents him to us through the Scriptures. Their Jesus has already returned and begun ruling as King, while we are still keeping on the watch for our Lord's return. Immediately preceding his illustration about the wine Jesus said; “You cannot make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? But days will come when the bridegroom will indeed be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.” They no longer fast but are rejoicing as their Lord is now with them, while we are still fasting because our Lord was taken away and has not yet returned.
Their Jesus has set up a formal and regulated system of worship similar to Judaism with a number of rules and regulations. All of them must appear before God at least twice a week in a suit and tie, or modest dress. No man can have a beard but must be clean shaven. All must report monthly activity in proselytizing for new converts to the organization. There is a clearly distinguished authority structure wherein all those possessing positions are to be given a great deal of honor and respect, hence those positions within the organization are highly coveted. Any who challenge or criticize anything done by those in authority, no matter how wrong or immoral, are condemned as apostates and disfellowshipped just as the Sanhedrin did to our Lord.
Our Lord Jesus has refrained from setting up any sort of organization to dictate how we are to honor our Father in our daily lives. Rather he tells us; “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for yourselves. For my yoke is kindly, and my load is light.” When it comes to how we discern the truth and religious doctrine his apostle reminds us that the Bible “is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight.” What if we should happen to desire a position of authority as one of his disciples? Our Lord Jesus tells us “whoever wants to become great among you must be your minister, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.” In this he set a perfect example for us, he came “not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his life as a ransom in exchange for many.” Likewise we as “ambassadors substituting for Christ” conduct ourselves as ministers and slaves for all who would seek to know and draw close to our Lord.
Many entangled within a religious organization will say when presented with the facts that there are serious flaws in their sacred doctrines, “where are we going to go?” They imagine a similarity in their question to the sentiment Peter expressed when many were stumbled by something that Jesus had said. However Peter didn't say 'where am I going to go?' As if there were no better religion so he would remain a disciple. What he said was “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life. We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Peter was not fixated on any religion. He was a Jew, Jesus was a Jew, that was their religion. He was making a statement relating to Jesus as his Lord and Teacher.
Just as it was with Peter so it is with us. No religious teaching or doctrine supersedes what our Lord Jesus taught us. He told us that he is our one and only “Teacher, and all of you are brothers.” Furthermore, he has commissioned no man or religious body of men to station themselves as our spiritual leaders. Rather he tells us; “your Leader is one, the Christ.” Jesus was speaking to us when he said “Why, then, do you call me ‘Lord! Lord!’ but do not do the things I say?” If we would embrace this Jesus as our Lord it is absolutely critical that we carefully examine the Scriptures to become familiar with all of the things he has said and then make a continual effort to apply them in everything we do and say, proving ourselves to be his disciples.