What many people don’t understand is that Jesus Christ set up a church. No, not just some good ideas practiced by His followers, but a real, established organization. He called the Twelve and gave unto them priesthood authority, or the right to act in God’s name. Being the Son of God, Christ held it by right, and thus, He passed it onto His apostles.
Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. (Luke 9:1)
God’s priesthood authority isn’t something that can just be taken. It must be given under authority.
And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. (Hebrews 5:4)
Christ also called others to preach His gospel.
After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. (Luke 10:1)
And why did He, Christ, establish this organization?
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12)
So Jesus Christ called and ordained apostles, prophets, teachers, seventies, and so forth. He gave them His priesthood authority, or the right to act in God’s name. The right to heal and perform miracles. The right to administer in ordinances such as baptism by immersion and receiving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.
We can think of The Church of Jesus Christ as a round, glass table with four legs. One leg is Jesus Christ, another is priesthood authority, another is prophets and apostles, and the last is revelation received through those prophets and apostles. These four things hold up the table, the Church. Let’s say that Christ is the center leg, and the others form a triangle around Him. As we know, Jesus Christ was crucified. This removes the center leg. The table still stands just fine, but the center support is now gone. Of course, Christ was resurrected and appeared to His apostles, and others, but He is no longer physically present with them all the time.
With the Savior’s given authority, the apostles, and others Christ ordained, set out to spread the Word of God. Unfortunately, they were not received well by most. The world was soon about to fall into spiritual darkness, the Great Apostasy. The glass table would soon fall and shatter.