Jesus, the Faithful Priest
Ex-Pope Benedict has fallen under media scrutiny after being accused of not taking appropriate action against four priests who appear to have committed sexual abuse in Germany during the time that he was archbishop of Munich.
Interestingly, eyes seem to be focused on the former archbishop rather than on the priests accused of breaking morals, ethics, and religious doctrines.
Hebrews 5:1-10 outlines various roles of the priest, including offering sacrifices for sins, and dealing gently with others. The priest was not to take this job lightly nor for self benefit; rather, it was to glorify God and to help his fellow humans. And although priests were also prone to falling into sin, Leviticus 10:8-11 states that priests were to uphold what is holy, and outlines that they were to exemplify and teach the Law of Moses.
Unfortunately, the priests did not stay on track. Even Aaron crafted a golden calf to worship when Moses took too long in returning from his talk with God. Aaron’s sons would also falter, as would the rest of the Levitical line. This constant falling short is likened to the fact that the Law of Moses could not perfect anything nor keep people eternally alive, but only show where flaws existed.
A change was needed, as the author of Hebrews states bluntly in Hebrews 7:11-28. A new priest with a better covenant was needed, and this was accomplished through the order of Melchizedek. Jesus Christ is the High Priest of this order. As High Priest, Christ was found guiltless and made a sacrifice with finality to atone for all sins, and then gave the glory to God rather than to self. Christ exemplified what is holy, and preached about the character of God to all who would lend an ear. Christ cleaned and healed the unclean. Unlike the Levitical priests, Christ lives forever along with the new covenant, making intercession at all times for believers.
Verses 26-28 aptly summarize that Christ is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, has the power to forgive sins and atone for sin with finality, has no weakness, and is forever perfected.
Connecting: How would you feel learning of your pastor’s current/past transgressions? If it would give you doubts in your own faith, have you put your eyes on Christ or on the pastor?
Sharing: With Christ as the High Priest, is it necessary to have pastoral staff and ministers?
- Our pastors aren’t the same as Levitical priests so this is not a fair comparison
- Yes, we are part of the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)
- There is a responsibility for those with more knowledge of the scriptures to share with the lay masses
- No, but personal testimonies are powerful so I prefer testimonial services
- Yes, because we need someone to officiate over weddings and funerals, and to offer spiritual counseling
Applying: Compare your interpersonal relationships to the priesthood revealed through the life and ministry of Christ. Where could you be strengthened, and where do you excel?