Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
"All you are brothers." (Matthew 23:8)
Some have reasoned that since Jesus told his disciples the above, there should be no positions of authority in the Christian congregation. However, both the Hebrew and the Greek Scriptures have numerous examples of men who exercised authority given to them by God. First-century Christians acknowledged the authority of the apostles. (Acts 2:42) Paul, for example, gave direction to his brothers. (1 Corinthians 16:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:2) Nevertheless, he also willingly submitted to those who had authority over him. (Acts 15:22; Galatians 2:9, 10) The lesson we learn is twofold. First, it is Scriptural for "the faithful and discreet slave" through its Governing Body to appoint men to positions of responsibility, and some men are appointed to exercise authority over other appointed men. (Matthew 24:45-47; 1 Peter 5:1-3) Second, all of us, including appointed men, should honor those who have authority over us.
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/08, 4:10-12)
When you read the surrounding verses of this account it provides a better picture of what Jesus was referring to,...because he said those words to his disciples and the crowd, right after he had just gotten done criticizing the Pharisees for their self-righteous, haughty attitude. He pointed out that instead of ministering to the people like they were supposed to, they basically did everything just for "show" since they enjoyed having high-sounding religious titles and prominent places in society.
So you can see that Jesus was referring to the type of mindset and attitude that his disciples should have towards one another, (regardless of whether or not they had positions of responsibility or authority within the congregation). Otherwise, he wouldn't have kept reminding his own apostles (who obviously had positions of oversight and authority), that they needed to maintain a humble attitude and be willing to minister to others.