Throughout the centuries since Jesus, His followers have wrestled with how to talk to God.
The early church prayed directly to God in Jesus’ name. They understood that Jesus had fulfilled the law, so there was no longer any veil between God and people.
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split”
Matthew 27:50-51 NIV
They recognized that an earthly priest was no longer needed because Jesus was now our high priest, and they could speak directly to God through Him.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV
Jesus had told them this was the new order of His kingdom.
““But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Matthew 23:8-12 NIV
Over the next two centuries, many followers of Jesus forgot that Jesus had said this and that the first believers lived by it. They created many layers of hierarchy and authority, telling people that to get to God, they had to come through the bureaucracy and red tape.
The Reformation rejected these additions to the good news Jesus taught and returned the focus to Jesus and His word. We are part of a movement that completes these reforms, focusing on the full Gospel of Jesus and returning to the ancient roots of Christian worship.
Today we still have many followers of Jesus who believe that Jesus intended us to create layers of leadership and red tape between us and God. We love them, but we disagree with them. Jesus’ death and resurrection tore the veil between God and people and restored our original relationship – walking with God and talking to Him face to face.
“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:12-18 NIV
- Why do you think people have added so many layers between us and God?
- Do you speak to God to God directly or through filters?
- What red tape have you allowed to separate you from God?
- What red tape are you allowing that separates others from God?