For my entire life, I had the traditional (!?) WT view of Jesus: the son of God (but less important and less powerful), perfect, human while on the earth, gave his life, etc.
That was on the one hand.
On the other hand he was hard on the Pharisees (evil!), he seemed to go against the Law and he hung out with sinners and cared not a whit for what people thought of him.
These two concepts are in conflict with each other, at least in WT theology, because an exemplary person does NOT challenge authority.
But Jesus did. Jesus was a true iconclast. The pharisees and other leaders seemed to be guilty of not much more than hypocrisy and greed, certainly far down the list of prosecutable sins in the times of Jesus and even our own day; quick, when was the last time Brother Greedy elder was taken down? Or the elder who gets his child out of trouble while others get the book thrown at them?
Jesus absolutely speared the Pharisees, and called them names to boot. He refused to stone a sinner. He had dinner with the tax collectors and even a prostitute. He thumbed his nose at the traditions of the sabbath, not caring that it would "stumble" those who were faithful.
So here was the conflict cooking in my head unrecognized for so many years: If I truly wanted to emulate Jesus, I would need to first examine those who had religious authority in my life; then, if they were wrong, to question and challenge them as Jesus did. I would need to pursue what I felt what was right even if it ruffled feathers.
This, of course, is impossible in WT land.
First, no perspective is allotted one to examine authority figures in the congregation; all must be accorded the "double honor" and even while lip service was paid to elders being human and prone to mistakes, you better not bring up any specific mistake. To do so would invite comparisons to Korah, an OT figure.
Recently I have questioned if Jesus ever intended that the Jewish style congregation be duplicated by his followers. He told his followers:
Call no man father, call no man teacher. In my mind, that means that WE are each responsible to determine what is God's will for us, and to do otherwise invites the same abuse of power that he so ably (and fatally) exposed and warned against.
I see it again and again in history: in pursuit of answers to hard questions, and the mysteries of life, and the need for fellowship, people empower men, they give them the authority to decide what GOD is saying! In turn, these men state for certainty that this or that is what God is saying. Seldom is the caveat given: this is only MY opinion of what God is saying.
Jesus, to my way of thinking, hated this and empowered his followers to think for themselves; he constantly challenged their way of thinking.
Jesus, in my way of thinking, destroyed the idea that what God wanted was a formal, organized style of worship.
But that was what Paul and the other apostles immediately established on his death.
Is this what Jesus really wanted???
Or did he want us to realize that the jewish system was a human one, and impossible to keep at that.
What do you all think?