pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Priesthood

Reading: Hebrews 5: 1-4

Verse 2: “He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness”.

Today’s passage speaks of the priest and the roles the priest played for the people. In Biblical times, the priest offered gifts and sacrifices for the people and he taught the people, often calling them back to a faithful walk with God. Verse two speaks of this. At times the priest, being human, would go astray as well. In these cases, the priest would do as he did for the people – offer a sacrifice for the sin.

At the time of our writing, all official priests would come from the Levites, the family line of Aaron. Aaron and his descendents were identified by God to be the priests for Israel. From within the clan or tribe of Levi, men would be called by God to serve as a priest. From within this group, one would be selected to serve as the high priest. This role brought special duties and was a great honor.

For clergy down through the ages and in our present time, the role has changed slightly. Men and women are still called by God to serve His people, but they can come from any family and from all walks of life. Clergy still perform religious duties such as leading worship, teaching on God’s Word, offering guidance and direction, and so on, but do not offer sacrifices on the altar for the sins of the people.

The expansion of the clergy to a much bigger pool has also led to an expansion of the roles played by the people in the pews. Many churches and denominations have something called the “priesthood of all believers”. This concept began with Jesus. He was the rabbi amongst His followers. Jesus sent out His followers to teach and to heal, including them in the role traditionally held only by the Levites. Today, in many churches, we also see our members in this way. Each Sunday all people are encouraged to go forth to be the light and love of Jesus Christ in the world – to minister to others on behalf of Jesus.

May we each follow the call by Jesus to make disciples of all peoples and nations.

Lord, you call each follower to plant seeds and to meet needs. This day, may all I do and say bring glory to your name, drawing others to you as I love my neighbors. Amen.


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Christ’s Witnesses

On our bulletin we have a box listing the staff of the church and on the first line it reads: “Ministers…. The Congregation.”  It is important to define the body of Christ as those whose ‘job’ it is to go forth in ministry to the world.  All Christians everywhere have the charge to go forth into their world to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

The idea that all Christians are part of this work of the church first originated during the Reformation and was referred to as the ‘priesthood of all believers’.  It is not the role of just the pastor or priest, but the role of all believers to be priests in their world by being the witness and presence of God to those in their midst, to their neighbors.

Clergy do have a role to fill.  Those calls to formal ministry must offer the sacraments and must lead, teach, guide, and equip the people of God to be minnisters to their neighbors.  These clergy and the whole body of Christ prays for one another, encourages one another, hold one another accountable, supports one another, and works alongside one another.  All of us together help build the kingdom of God here on earth.

Jesus Christ was and is and is to come.  We, as the priesthood of all believers, must carry His message of love and grace and forgiveness out into a world living in darkness.  As believers we must all be Christ’s witnesses and presence in the world through our words, actions, and deeds.  Today may we represent well.

Scripture reference: Revelation 1: 4b-8