Jesus called his Disciples to follow Him and they dropped everything and followed Him. Then He spent three years teaching them. I don’t recall Jesus ever asking His Disciples for their opinions.
I don’t see any indication that Jesus’ time with the Disciples was like many modern day Bible studies where people sit around sharing their own impressions of what this verse or that verse means to them. I can’t imagine Jesus asking the Disciples for opinions on how to interpret Scripture. If He did ask them, I certainly can’t imagine that Jesus would be satisfied with two or more opposing interpretations. It is hard to imagine Jesus responding, “Well, that’s fine if you guys can’t agree on what it means, as long as it’s not essential to your salvation.” It seems that Jesus taught them and they listened. They may not have understood everything completely, but they had to accept what Jesus taught them. Nothing was subject to personal opinion. Even when Peter had the correct answer to a question (“You are the Christ”), Jesus didn’t say, “I like your opinion about me, Peter!” Jesus didn’t give Peter any credit. Jesus made it clear that God provided that correct answer, not Peter.
We need to have Jesus teach us while we listen. That’s why Jesus gave us the Church. He didn’t give us lots of different churches with opposing views and opinions. Jesus gave us the Church with a successive hierarchy led by the Holy Spirit. Jesus spent three years teaching His Disciples what He wanted them to know. After Jesus ascended to Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to make sure that they (the leaders of Church) would be able to “connect the dots” and continue the process of teaching until the end of the age. To listen to the Church is to listen to Jesus. God still provides the correct answers.
There is nothing in the Bible that says, “And Jesus told them to go and write a book to guide people’s opinions after the Apostles die off.” The Bible itself does not claim to be our ultimate guide and authority. Obviously, having access to the Bible has not resulted in Christian unity or concensus. There are too many opposing opinions in play. I can’t recall Jesus ever being interested in everyone having a right to their own opinions. He seemed very interested in obedience, though.
There’s an old hymn I recall from my Protestant days. “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.” The key is deciding who, and/or what, to obey. There are so many opinions. There are so many churches teaching so many different things about Jesus and Scripture. Jesus knew this would happen. It’s human nature to muddy the water. That’s why Jesus gave us His Church with a Spirit-led, successive hierarchy. To obey His Church is to obey Jesus. If we wait until we understand every teaching clearly, we will never step forward in faith. Like the Disciples, we must accept things we do not fully understand.
Sound scary? I have yet to know of someone whose life or soul was brought to ruin by faithfully following what is taught in the Catholic Catechism. Challenged, perhaps, but not ruined. It’s all about Jesus, after all. And that’s more than simply my opinion.
Very well written post.
Thank you very much!