"Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The teacher says ...'" (Matthew 26:18)

"Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.'" (Matthew 26:18)

Why did Jesus tell them to do this?

This statement illustrates the service relationship that existed between Jesus and his disciples - and was customary in ancient times between the spiritual teacher and his students.

This statement by Jesus followed his disciples asking him:
"Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?" (Matthew 26:17)
So it was important that these dedicated students arrange somewhere for their Teacher to eat on the Passover as Jesus came to celebrate an ancient Jewish religious holiday. This statement, followed by Jesus' statement, confirms that his disciples accepted him as their spiritual teacher - as they called him "teacher" and Jesus addressed himself as "teacher."

This indicates the central role that Jesus played in their lives, and in the lives of others. Jesus was God's messenger, and his mission was to teach his students about the Supreme Being. As teacher, Jesus was representing God. He was teaching what God told him to teach:
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 7:16)

"When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the One who sent me." (John 12:44)
These and other statements by Jesus clearly indicate that God sent him, and he is representing God. Therefore, to believe Jesus' teachings means to believe God's teachings. We find that Jesus referred to his position as being sent by God a number of times.

But isn't Jesus God?

Many claim that Jesus is God, and that his role was to die for our sins.

Does this make sense? Why would God - the Supreme Being and Controller of everything - have to come to the earth as a man and die in order to forgive our sins? Does God not already possess this power to forgive our sins? 

Didn't Jesus directly teach asking God to forgive us for our sins?
"Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us." (Luke 11:4)
According to Jesus, God can forgive our sins simply by willing it. This means that God doesn't need to come to the earth and "die for our sins."

Furthermore, God does not die. He did not die. God never dies.

We also know by this event that Jesus' students were subservient to their teacher. The relationship was clear. Jesus gave them instructions and his students obeyed those instructions.

Why is this important? Because this was the ancient method used to train those who were serious about spiritual life. The teacher mentored the student, personally answering questions, and taught the student about how to apply the teachings of scripture and previous spiritual teachers in the current society and culture. 

We also know by Jesus' statement that he engaged his followers to perform service for him. Jesus could have certainly arranged for the house himself. Rather, he engaged his student in service to God by giving him instructions. 

Were Jesus' teachings consistent with the teachings of the Prophets?

We see this student-teacher relationship occurring time and again throughout the ancient books of the Old Testament. We saw this relationship between Melchizedek and Abraham, Abraham and Isaac, Isaac and Jacob, Jethro and Moses, Moses and Joshua, Eli and Samuel, Samuel and David, David and Solomon and others. 

While many of these relationships are construed to be between a son and father, this was not always the case - such as Melchizedek and Abraham, Moses and Joshua and Eli and Samuel - and many others.
The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. (1 Samuel 3:11)
Most of these students later became teachers and taught others as their teacher had taught them.

This illustrates the relationship between the student and the teacher. The teacher mentors the student, and the student begins to serve God under the tutelage of the teacher - God's representative.

Such a relationship was seen between John the Baptist and Jesus. John baptized Jesus, and Jesus began teaching what John the Baptist taught. Then like John, Jesus began to baptize his own students. Then Jesus sent his disciples out to teach to others, just as John had.

Then we find that Jesus praised John, just as a disciple would praise his teacher.

But these teachers are not like some of today's teachers, who want us to believe their teachings but created their own doctrine. Their own teachings do not mirror the teachings of those great teachers before them. Some have suggested they had a great vision and this gives them the ability to teach their own doctrines.

Some of these teachers want us to believe they have a direct connection with Jesus, but we still have to become their followers. Why can't we have our own connection with Jesus as they supposedly do? Why do we need to follow their doctrine - which departs from Jesus' own teachings?

Where did the teaching principles of the Prophets get off track?

Jesus identified that the Temple institution of his time had gotten off track. They had created a hierarchical system that ritualized Mosaic law and made Pharisees and priests subject to the institution rather than to God.

Jesus argued against this system profusely, as he labeled the priests and their system full of hypocrisy

But then after a couple of centuries, Jesus' teachings got usurped by a doctrine that ironically mirrored the very temple institution that Jesus criticized.

This began with the doctrine of Paul, who claimed to have had a "vision" of Jesus (he saw a light and heard a voice). Paul and his followers suggested that this vision gave Paul the right to create his own philosophy - which actually departed from Jesus' own teachings. (That is why they call Paul's doctrine Pauline Theology.)

The fact that Paul's teachings departed from Jesus' was illustrated as Paul argued with James and Peter, who were preaching what Jesus had taught them. Paul's philosophy did not carry on Jesus' teachings. He created a new philosophy - one that would be easier for Romans to follow.  

Note that the word "gentiles" - used in the Bible (ἔθνος ethnos) is actually better translated to "pagans" - used by Jesus and the Prophets to describe atheists. Paul and his followers tried to recast this to mean those who were not Jewish.
"For the pagans run after these things ..." (Matthew 6:32
This was the central reason why Paul's teachings spread so quickly. It was easy to follow Paul's doctrine. One did not have to undergo a change of heart or give their lives to God. All they had to do was "accept" that Jesus died for their sins and they were saved. It was (and is) an easy proposition.

This is also why the Romans embraced Paul's teachings, and why more than half of the New Testament is about Paul and his teachings. (Yes, the Romans oversaw the organization of early Bible texts.)

Most of today's seminary schools and their graduates - who become priests and pastors - follow Pauline Theology. But there is another distinction about modern seminary schools, and the priests and preachers that come out of them: It is now big business.

The seminary schools do have teachers. But these are professional teachers. They are paid handsome salaries for their teaching services. This means they are beholden not to God, but to the organization that pays their salaries.

And since the students pay the seminary school tuition, it is a business for them too. The relationship between the students and the teachers is a business relationship. The students essentially pay the teachers' salaries, creating a marketplace of teachers, organized by the institution.

Using Jesus' teachings to create a business or marketplace was opposed by Jesus. This is why Jesus turned over the tables in the marketplace at the temple. He did not want to see the temple used as a place of business. Why would he now accept seminary school businesses?

Once out of seminary school, priests and preachers then become businessmen for an institution. They are paid handsome salaries in exchange for their teaching services at the institution.

Some go to a greater extent and begin doing creative marketing with their preaching. They will offer prayers for pay and other ways to milk their followers of money, often becoming extremely wealthy in the process.

This is not the process followed by Jesus and his lineage. They volunteered their time in their service of preaching. They never followed a preach-for-pay scheme.

Jesus' process was having a personal relationship with Jesus and being personally introduced to the Supreme Being by Jesus. It is a personal process, not a business relationship.

Was this the process the Prophets used?

The ancient Prophets and Kings directed their followers to worship God. They also humbled themselves before God in the presence of their followers. They might have had other duties such as king or trader, and been paid for those services. But they didn't preach for money.

These Prophets saw themselves as God's servant and the servant of others. Jesus also embraced this doctrine. This is why Jesus referred to himself as the "Son of man," just as Job and Ezekiel did. (servant of humanity is a better translation of this phrase.)

This is also why Jesus taught:
"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 23:11-12)
Being God's representative means being God's humble servant. It means having been a student of one of God's representatives. It means acting on behalf of God and His representative. It is not a superior position - it is the position of a servant - a messenger. This is who Jesus said he was:
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 7:16)
This position was also communicated by Joshua, Moses' student, who passed on Moses' teachings:
"But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to obey His commands, to hold fast to Him and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul." (Joshua 22:5)
Moses' teachings were also passed down by Jesus, who quoted Moses' instruction from Deuteronomy 6:5 word for word:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)