"Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" (Luke 12:14)

Jesus is responding to someone in the crowd:
Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." (Luke 12:13)

What is an 'arbiter'?

An arbiter is someone who helps settle disputes. This is also called arbitration or mediation.

Today there are judges and professional mediators who can help do this. But traditionally, the church or temple of religious institutions often acted as arbiters.

But Jesus did not want to play this role.

Why didn't Jesus arbitrate between the brothers?

Jesus didn't see himself as an institutional priest or rabbi. He didn't see himself as having a duty to help settle agreements. Jesus was not an institutionalist. Rather, Jesus had a particular mission.

Jesus' mission was related to doing the will of God. Jesus was teaching about God and helping us come to know and love the Supreme Being.

Jesus understood his role and mission as the loving servant and representative of the Supreme Being. Consider these statements where he acknowledged this:
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)

“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 7:16)

"For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken." (John 12:49)
Certainly within this mission of his service to the Supreme Being Jesus did have to make judgements, such as who he would speak to and who he would heal and so on. But Jesus also offered his ability to make good judgments to the Supreme Being:
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30)
"But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me." (John 8:16)

What does 'I stand with the Father' mean?

Consider this phrase. When a person stands with another, they are siding with that person. They are considering themselves unified with that person. It is not as if they have become the same person.

Rather, it means there is a relationship between them and they have the same mission and motives. This also explains the often-misinterpreted statement by Jesus:
"I and the Father are one." (John 10:30)
This statement indicates two things: First that there are two individuals: "I" - Jesus. And "the Father." But there is a oneness between them. This is a oneness that comes from love.

Just consider a mother and father who love each other and love their child. If their child asks the mother for something and then asks the father will the child receive two different answers? No. If the child asks the mother first the father will say something like "do what your mother says." And vice versa. Why? Because the mother and father have a oneness with respect to their relationship with their child. They are of a single mind and mission to bring up the child in a certain way.

In the same way, there is a oneness between Jesus and the Supreme Being because Jesus is loving and serving God. He is doing the will of the Supreme Being as stated in the verses above. This means they have a oneness with respect to Jesus' mission and motives.

Jesus also felt a oneness - kinship - with others who are serving the Supreme Being:
"For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matt. 12:50)
Jesus also explained this position of oneness as he prayed to the Supreme Being for his disciples, suggesting that they could also achieve the same oneness:
"I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name, the Name You gave me, so that they may be one as we are one." (John 17:11)
Thus we find that Jesus was one-pointed in his mission to please the Supreme Being. He was not anxious to get involved in petty disputes regarding money and inheritance. Why? Because his focus was on serving the Supreme Being - doing the will of the Supreme Being.

And what is God's will? He wants us to come home to Him. He wants us to give up our empty and lonely self-centered existence in the physical world and come to know Him and love Him. God knows only this can make us happy - and because God loves us, He wants us to be happy. This is why Jesus' most important instruction - as was Moses' - is:
" '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." (Matt. 22:37-38)