“you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”-I Peter 2:5
We often make the point all Christians are saints and priests. There is no place in Scripture where a local minister is referred to as “the” priest. No Bible verse refers to a special class of people known as saints to whom prayer should be offered. The idea of using the term “father” in a spiritual way is condemned by Jesus and downright blasphemous (Matthew 23:8-9).
So now what. Pointing out error is not all there is to this topic. If we are all priests, we must have work to do. Priests serve as go-betweens for humans and God. Jesus himself serves as our great high priest (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 4:14-16). It is our spiritual service to bring sinners to God through Christ Jesus. In fact the New Unger’s Bible Dictionary defines the word priest this way, “In the precise terminology of the law it is used of one who may ‘draw near’ to the divine presence.” This is reflected very distinctly in our worship services.
Leading Prayer And Singing: Very little distinction is made between these two in Scripture. In fact, almost all the psalms were sung or chanted and they are all praise for or petitions to God. The men who lead us in prayer take us, “to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”-Hebrews 4:16. Song leading is a balance of song selection and service with heart and soul. Picking songs that praise Jehovah, teach, give thanks, and fill with the Spirit help us leave this world behind and think of heavenly things.
The Lord’s Supper: The focus of every Christian worship is remembering Jesus’ death on the day he overcame the grave. The men who serve this priestly function come nearest in form to the priests of the Law of Moses. The Levitical priests slaughtered and sacrificed the bulls, goats, doves, and lambs by hand. Praise God we have no need of daily sacrifice (Hebrews 9:28; 10:12)! Yet in handling the body and blood of Christ, it is our priestly service to carry the minds of the local body of Christ back to the crucified body of our Savior. My prayer is, we do so with great care.
The Contribution: Again, we see the image of today in the past. The system of tithing in the Old Testament was for the purpose of financially supporting the Levites and the services of the temple (Numbers 18:21). In the same way, our priests serve to collect and see to the needs of our spiritual house and those who serve (I Corinthians 9:13-14).
Teaching And Preaching: If we did nothing but read God’s word to his people, we would bring them closer to the Lord. Paul told Timothy, “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture,”-I Timothy 4:13. Jesus himself picked up the scroll and read (Luke 4:17). Preaching is not just some, “tradition of western-European Christianity.” It is God’s ordained method of spreading the faith. Preaching the gospel produced 3,000 believers on Pentecost (Acts 2:41). The Spirit says through Paul, “it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.”-I Corinthians 1:21.
Certainly there are other ways in which Christians bring people to God. Men may lead during our worship but female priests are just as important. How many souls have been saved thanks to what they learned at the feet of godly women in Bible class? How many men have seen Jesus living in their wives, girlfriends, sisters, and fellow employees? Just because I may not fill a role in our Lord’s day services does not mean I am free from priestly service (man or woman). Let your light shine, clean the building, invite sinners, live such godly lives among the worldly, “they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”-I Peter 2:12.
The first Christians lived out their priestly duties, ‘those who were scattered went about preaching the word.”-Acts 8:4. Every Christian has the right and the duty to tell others about salvation through faith in Christ Jesus the resurrected Son of God. Let us serve well!
Unger, Merrill Frederick et al. The new Unger’s Bible dictionary 1988 : n. pag. Print.