“If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit. ...” (Matthew 15:13-14)

“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:13-14)

What does Jesus mean by the plant being 'pulled up by the roots'?

This statement by Jesus follows after the disciples commented to Jesus:
“Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” (Matt. 15:12)
“This” is referring to Jesus’ previous statement, when responding to the Pharisees’ questioning Jesus about washing their hands.

What does the symbolism mean? The plant that the Supreme Being did not plant symbolizes the Pharisees. They were not "planted" by God because they were appointed to their posts by men. They were maintaining positions given to them by Temple institution councils. In other words, they were elected to their positions.

They were appointed by men - not God. Thus they had no real authority.

This lack of real authority is being compared to being pulled up by the roots because they have no real foundation. Their foundation is faulty - it is based upon a hierarchical institution that is organized around giving power to those in leadership positions. 

Jesus is teaching that this institution - like many institutions we find today - is not representing the Supreme Being.

Why did Jesus call them 'blind guides'?

Jesus is telling his students not to be concerned about the opinions of the Pharisees. They have no real authority. They might have some authority with respect to the physical world - given to them by others focused upon their own power - but this is not permanent power or authority. This is temporary.

Even the most powerful kings and emperors all died, and their power was taken away. On their deathbed, they no longer were able to control anything because others were already taking their power away. Once they passed from the physical body - that power was gone.

This means that power and authorities given by the physical world are not permanent. For this reason, Jesus is dismissing the Pharisees and teachers, because they are blind to the permanent authority of the spiritual realm.

Is Jesus saying they are physically blind? No. He is saying they are spiritually blind. They are not able to see the Supreme Being's existence all around them. They are not able to see how the physical world has been arranged by the Supreme Being. And because of this, they would be considered blind.

One's spiritual vision becomes blinded by desires for fame, wealth, sensual pleasure and respect.

Did 'blind guides' form the sectarian churches?

After Jesus passed away, Paul - a Roman Pharisee who had persecuted Jesus' followers - began claiming to represent Jesus after claiming to have had a vision of Jesus.

So Paul began recruiting his own followers despite breaking from the core teachings of Jesus and Jesus' disciples. Paul publicly disagreed with the teachings of Jesus' disciples. He argued with James and Peter in front of some of their followers.

Despite never hearing directly from Jesus, Paul thought that he could better represent Jesus' teachings than Jesus' own disciples. And what Paul taught about Jesus contradicted many of Jesus' direct teachings.

Paul's philosophy was designed to attract followers. He thought that Jesus' teachings should be tailored to the general public, and as such, Paul modified Jesus' teachings. This is called Pauline theology.

Most sectarian churches in Christianity today are founded upon Pauline theology. And the Nicene Creed, developed in a Roman-organized council in the early Fourth Century, embraces Pauline theology. This is why more than half of the New Testament is about Paul.

Paul was around during Jesus' life, but he was not a follower of Jesus. He worked for the High Priest and arrested Jesus' followers. Even after his conversion after Jesus' passing, he still argued against the teachings of Jesus' closest disciples.

Even though his philosophy departed from Jesus' teachings in many respects, Paul became the apparent leader of the early church - as he had attracted many followers with his easy doctrine of simply accepting that Jesus died for our sins.

Jesus on the other hand taught that one needs to have a change of heart (be "born again"). Such a change of heart means having a change in consciousness and activities - changing from being self-centered to being God-centered, and loving others.

Paul's doctrine is founded upon self-centeredness. That as long as we accept that we are saved by the blood of Jesus we can go to heaven. This is all about me. It is not love of God or loving others as Jesus taught.

Paul's followers claimed that his connection to Jesus was based on his having had a sort of vision of Jesus as he was walking, on his way to arrest some of Jesus' followers.

Paul supposedly saw a bright light and heard Jesus ask him, "why are you persecuting me?" This is told in the third person by an anonymous author and differs dramatically from Paul's own description of his conversion from his letter in Galatians 1.

We find that many sectarian groups that have come in the wake of Pauline theology also claimed to have had visions. For example, we find the Roman Emperor Constantine claimed to have had a vision of a cross. And Joseph Smith claimed to have had a vision of Jesus.

These and other supposed visions have been claimed by the founders of some of the prominent sectarian institutions.

This doesn't mean none of these folks experienced something. Rather, it indicates that many of these sectarian institutions are founded upon someone claiming to have had some sort of vision of Jesus.

Literally anyone could claim to have had a vision of Jesus. And many do.

This creates a philosophical environment where anyone can claim to have had a vision and create their own sectarian philosophy and institution. This means that literally anyone can claim they had a vision of Jesus and make up a new philosophy.

The result of this environment has been the creation of many new sectarian doctrines and rituals that supposedly represent Jesus' teachings. Many of these groups have also become fanatical, resulting in cult-like institutions led by charismatic leaders who have abused their followers.

We don't need charismatic leaders claiming to have a vision making up their own philosophies. We can follow Jesus simply by following Jesus' own teachings.

Can these be compared to the Pharisees?

Those who use Jesus' name to obtain positions of authority and gain power and prestige over others are constructively following in the footsteps of the Pharisees and chief priests that Jesus was criticizing.

Ironically and sadly, many 'blind guides' have seized on Jesus' life and have taken over his narrative. They have misled millions of people around the world.

Yes, Jesus is speaking generally of those who pretend to represent God but merely represent institutions organized with an agenda of power and authority: A desire to collect many followers to take advantage of.

And it is for this reason that these 'blind guides' are often focused on various rituals and regulations made up by men that do not reflect God’s will and intentions:
"'They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.' You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions." (Mark 7:8-9)
The misuse of power and authority through the creation of "merely human rules" by these sectarian institutions continued through the Roman Catholic church for centuries. It also splintered off with the rise of various other sects.

These sectarian institutions may create authority from men: But they have no real authority. Whatever authority they gain on earth is temporary - just as the authority of the Pharisees was temporary.

Jesus' authority is permanent. Jesus' authority comes from the Supreme Being, and this is why his powerful teachings continue to this day.