As obedient and dedicated members of the body of Christ, we perform the functions of our respective, sometimes shifting, places within that body (see 1 Corinthians 12), supporting an organism that is “fitly framed together” (Ephesians 2:21) to achieve the work directed by our ultimate leader—Christ himself.
But the Lord doesn’t view us as unthinking cogs in a machine, so we all have opportunities to exercise leadership and initiative in his kingdom through myriad expressions of his love.
Why Doesn’t Christ Tell Us Exactly What to Do?
He could, most assuredly. But how would that help us? I recently heard a professor from a religious school utter a surprising statement, perhaps without fully realizing what it meant. He said that if we could somehow achieve perfect equity in society, without the changing of hearts—that is, without people becoming new creatures in Christ—the Lord would be okay with that.
Yikes, no. That was exactly Lucifer’s plan, which stood in perfect opposition to the Father’s plan. Satan wanted to “save” us all and accrue all glory and power to himself, and he proposed to do that under a system of extreme micromanagement in which our agency would be essentially eliminated. We know how systems following that template have fared throughout the history of the world. They engender poverty, extreme class differences, godlessness, and an astonishing level of corruption, abuse, and violence. Without exception. Forced “virtue” isn’t virtue at all, and brings us nowhere near the Lord and his kingdom.
We’ve recently witnessed another example of the non-effectiveness of systems that consolidate decision-making at the top: the Russian army. Most “experts” believed Russia would conquer Ukraine in a matter of a few days. There are several reasons they were wrong, but one of the key factors was the lack of leadership ability and flexibility at the operational level. Lower-level Russian commanders have neither the training nor the permission to make the tactical decisions required to meet shifting battlefield conditions.
What was the purpose of the Last Supper?
We don’t yet understand all the reasons, but we know that:
- Jesus obeyed the statutes and judgments of the Law of Moses and therefore kept the feast of the Passover
- Jesus needed to instruct his apostles (and likely others, including the women who would have been present) on what was about to happen and what would come next; one of those instructions involved the ordinance of the sacrament, another the powerful meaning of being a servant-leader
- Jesus loved his disciples dearly and wished to spend precious time with them before they had to carry on without his constant physical presence
The best leaders sincerely care for those they lead. Not only does it naturally show, but these leaders actively demonstrate their genuine consideration, making sure it is felt. Christ continued his careful and caring instruction of the Twelve Apostles and others—surely including many of the women who would also form the backbone of the leadership of his church—after his resurrection, for at least forty days (Acts 1:3). On at least one occasion, he was seen by more than five hundred people (1 Cor. 15:6), and they weren’t just having a spot of tea.
Thank you for taking the time to read this! I hope it was worthwhile. For additional insights on these topics, feel free to visit me at https://www.mdhouselive.com/ or check out my historical fiction books on the life of Barabbas (three volumes) and the servant of Helaman.