“What instruction did Moses give?” (Mark 10:3)

Did Jesus depart from the teachings of the Prophets?

This statement by Jesus dispels the teachings of those who proclaim that Jesus' teachings somehow departed from the teachings of Moses and the Prophets.

The reality is that Jesus' teachings reflected the teachings of the Prophets such as Moses, Abraham, David, Isaiah, and others. This is why Jesus would reply to this question with the response above.

Here was the question Jesus was responding to:
Then the Pharisees approached him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” (Mark 10:2)
The Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus. They were trying to get him to say something that would contradict the teachings of the Prophets.

Why were these Pharisees trying to trap Jesus?

Because they were envious that he had many followers. They wanted to be able to accuse Jesus of heresy - of teaching things that were contradictory to the teachings of the Prophets. This would allow them to arrest Jesus.

This is because the teachings of the Prophets provided the foundation of the justice system in Judea at that time. This is why some people in the Gospels are described as "experts in the law." The "law" was the Prophets' teachings.

Yet the temple officials trying to trap Jesus could not trap him in this respect because Jesus was not contradicting the teachings of the Prophets.

In reality, Jesus was the embodiment of the teachings of the Prophets. He was the perfect teacher and representative of the Prophets because he was God's representative.

Was Jesus God's only representative?

Yes, Jesus was God's representative, and the Prophets were also God's representatives. This is an exclusive position. But this does not mean that God has only had one representative. Such a notion would indicate that somehow God is lacking in His ability to send messengers. That He could only have one representative throughout history.

Such would be an offensive position - that God is somehow limited in His abilities to find representation.

This is the same type of offense as saying that Jesus is God's only son. This would be equivalent to saying that God is impotent.

Such an offensive position would also be saying that most men are more powerful than God. Most men can father several sons, but God can only father one son? Such a notion is completely outrageous - and offensive.

The fact is, God is Omnipotent, and we are all children of God. This is confirmed by many verses in the Old and New Testaments.

This recognizes our relationship with God. This is also referred to in some Biblical translations as being a "son" or "child" of God - from the Greek word υἱός (huios) which can only mean "son" in the context of a physical family (according to the lexicon, only "in a restricted sense, the male offspring - one born by a father and of a mother"). Also according to the Greek lexicons, υἱός (huios) can also mean "subject" or "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower," as well as "representative" and even in some contexts, "servant."

This means that in many verses, the use of the word υἱός (huios) doesn't indicate "son" of God at all, but rather, someone who is devoted to God and is representing God. One who is a follower of God and has dedicated their lives to God.

This is why Jesus is often referred to as a υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ - where τοῦ means "of" and θεοῦ means God. They were referring to Jesus as God's representative.

The fact that Jesus is instructing others to follow Moses' teachings confirms that Jesus was not the only representative of God. Jesus understands that if they follow Moses' teachings within their context, they will also be following God, because Moses was God's representative, just as Jesus was God's representative.

Assuming the mistranslation to "sons" instead of "representatives," here are a few verses proving that God had many representatives ("sons"):
Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. (Genesis 6:1-2 NKJV)

There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4 NKJV)

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. (Job 1:6 NKJV)

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. (Job 2:1 NKJV)

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7 NKJV)

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9 NKJV)

“nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection." (Luke 20:36 NKJV)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:14 NKJV)

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19 NKJV)

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26 NKJV)
This does not reduce Jesus' importance - as many might suggest. God chooses His representatives carefully. Those whom He chooses to represent Him must have established a loving service relationship with Him. They have dedicated their lives to Him. They have committed themselves to pleasing Him. They are in love with Him and have a confidential relationship with Him.

This also means those who seek positions of power within sectarian institutions - including the Pharisees of Jesus' time and the many professional preachers among today's sects - cannot represent God. They can only represent those who have appointed them to their positions of power. This includes bishops, cardinals, popes, reverends or other officials appointed to their positions through a political process.

Sorry but spiritual life is not a democracy. Politics doesn't work in spiritual life. Knowing God requires love. Love for God. A person who loves God and knows God can be empowered by God to teach. Groups of humans don't get to make this determination.

This means that politically appointed priests and pastors cannot claim to be God's representatives. They are appointed through a political process and they are being paid salaries for their service. This means that it is not loving service. A loving servant of God does not receive a salary or other stipend for their service to God. They refuse such paybacks because they are only interested in pleasing God.

This was in fact why Jesus himself did not accept an appointment from the temple institution. This is also why Jesus instructed his disciples who were sent out to preach not to carry a purse. He didn't want them collecting money in return for teaching about God.

Could Jesus have been a temple priest if he wanted to?

Jesus could have easily become an official temple priest and avoided all this controversy and persecution. He could have taken an appointed position of temple priest and he wouldn't have had to walk barefoot from village to village preaching. He would have had his congregation, with a comfortable salary and room and board paid for by the Temple.

But he didn't do this. He didn't do this because he knew that doing so was becoming a sell-out.

Nor did Jesus receive any type of salary or compensation for his service to God. And he instructed his students to act in the same way as they passed his teachings on to others. Jesus might accept offerings of lodging and food from people, and even money - but these were always voluntary offerings from followers - never a payment for teaching or other religious services.

The bottom line: To receive a salary or stipend for teaching about God - and/or to be appointed to a position of preacher or pope or bishop by other people or group of people - are signs of those who do not represent the Supreme Being.

Jesus made a big distinction between being given earthly rewards for so-called service to God, and spiritual rewards for spiritual service:
“And when you pray, do not do what the hypocrites do, for they like to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so they may be seen by others. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your closet and shut the door, and pray to your LORD who is in secret; and your LORD who sees what is done secretly shall reward you openly." (Matt. 6:5-6)