Oxford First UMC
The New Sanhedrin
As Jesus established the order of the kingdom with his disciples he gave them insight into how conflicts within the community should be handled. Jesus described a process that works from deep humility, a process seldom followed well today. The procedure he described paralleled that which was followed in the day, where unresolved disputes were brought before the Sanhedrin -- the Supreme Court -- for resolution. The Sanhedrin's decision was final, considered to be supported by God. It seems in Matthew 18 Jesus is setting up his new Sanhedrin for settling conflict in the church. And, according to the foregoing conversation, they should make decisions in deep humility and holiness. Within these parameters God's authority is delegated and enabled.
Locations & Times
  • Oxford First United Methodist Church
    216 Snow St, Oxford, AL 36203, USA
    Sunday 9:00 AM
Church was a new concept for the disciples.

Introduced in Matthew 16 when Jesus said
"Upon this rock I will build my church
and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
He continued:

"I will give you the keys of the kingdom,
and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

These images indicate delegated authority.

The Hebrew word for church is Q-H-L. It's root QL means "gathering to the staff" and speaks of the gathering of a flock of sheep to the shepherd. The church is the gathering of God's people.

Jesus was establishing the Church
as the nation of God's people
with the authority to represent the kingdom
in the world.
Jesus speaks of governance within the church.

Patterned after what disciples are used to
with the Sanhedrin.

Local Sanhedrins for each town,
Great Sanhedrin for the nation.

Sanhedrin means people sitting together (gathering) and refers to the elders gathered to hear cases. Each town in Israel had a Sanhedrin of at least 23 men to try court cases and conduct business. They were usually the elders of the community, or heads of extended families. In Jerusalem was the Great Sanhedrin, composed mostly of priests and presided over the High Priest.

Process of justice when someone offends:

Go to offender alone, seek restitution.
Take witnesses, seek restitution.
Take witnesses to Sanhedrin for remedy.

Decision of Sanhedrin will be final,
considered to be from God.
Authority for these positions
from deep humility.
As a child.

Authority for these positions
from deep holiness.

Binding and loosing (prohibiting or permiting).
Legal term meaning authority to speak.
God is present in deliberation.

Two or three gathered.
A smaller group for study, prayer, deliberation.
God is present.