Priesthood; December 17, 2022

Hebrews 7:24-25 But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Only in Hebrews do we find such an exposition of Jesus’ priesthood, and that is one of many reasons the book is such a valuable part of the Bible. The writer (I personally think it was Apollos, but I could be wrong) was obviously very well versed in the Old Testament, and as a result the book is one of the best commentaries on the Old Testament. The Aaronic priesthood was central to Judaism in those days, before the destruction of the temple and the forced scattering of the Jewish people. That destruction had not yet happened at the point the book was written, so it was extremely timely that it deals with the fact that Jesus was the culmination and completion of the whole concept of the priesthood. Under Jesus our Great High Priest, every believer is to be a priest before God, as Peter famously pointed out. (1 Peter 2:5, 9) We must remember that authority flows from the top down. If we are not submitted to Christ, we have no authority on our own. However, if we are submitted, rightly relating to Him in holy fellowship, then His authority indeed flows through us, and we are able to “make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:18-20) It’s important to note that a major function of the High Priest, and priests in general, is intercession. If we aren’t praying for people, seeking to draw them to God and asking God to forgive them, then we aren’t functioning as priests under Christ. Going back to Peter, this isn’t limited to formal clergy. Some groups retain the title of priest and some don’t, but even those who claim the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer mainly give it just lip service. That is unfortunate indeed. Again referring to Peter, we would all like to be kings, but we try to weasel out of being priests! We’ve got to remember that our priesthood is in Christ, not on our own, and He is interceding for us, as it says here.

As a pastor, duly educated and ordained, I am lumped into the “priest” category by most people, but one of the driving forces in my ministry is the conviction that every believer is to be a priest, acting as God’s agent and interceding for the people around them. I have had definitely spotty results in raising up such believers! A more helpful term has been that of disciple. The Coaching teaching I’ve been receiving for the past few years points out that ministers shouldn’t be asking each other how many members they have, but rather how many disciples. There are a few mature disciples in this congregation and others are growing, but every one of us, me included, has more room to grow. I need to maintain my own relationship to my High Priest in order to nurture the believers around me in their own priesthood, so that the Body of Christ may be built up.

Father, thank You for what You have done and what You are doing in this congregation. Help us keep growing as Your priests, drawing more and more into Your family, Your kingdom, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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