Many words bring to mind an impression or an image, a connotation. That connotation may be wildly at odds with the plain definition of the word. “Priest” is just such a word.
The Roman Catholic priesthood comes to my mind first because it is ubiquitous in our society. The ancient Levitical priesthood is the primary theological priesthood with which I am acquainted.
Our model is the priestly order of Melchizedek, the Order of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ our high priest. He is also our king and we are a royal priesthood. If you have never thought of yourself this way, take a few moments to read and to reflect on 1 Peter 2:4-5 “As you come to Him, the living stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him–you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
You may like reading an even fuller description of this priesthood in Hebrews 7 and 8.
This is a spiritual priesthood, not meant to be a worldly hierarchy of power and authority. Its head is divine; Jesus, the Messiah. Its rule is his word and his way. When you accepted him as your Savior he became your high priest and you became a priest yourself, to minister to others and to honor and glorify him.
When you were raised from the water of baptism you received the Holy Spirit who enables you and leads you in this priestly ministry. (Acts 2:38-39)
In our American society today, the models of priesthood are not always admirable, besmirched not only by the attacks of our common enemy the Devil but by the damage resulting from sin among priests.
Being a priest of the order of the Lamb of God is not for weak and timid people. It is for those who stand in the constant presence of God, trained and prepared to do His will by seeking the lost. Comforting the sorrowful. Leading the bewildered. Visiting the sick and lonely. Encouraging the fearful. Praying for one another in sincere love. Always being ready to listen. Being a living, breathing gospel for those we know or come into contact with. These are things Jesus did. God has chosen us to be a spiritual priesthood. Praise his holy name forever!
Dear Father, increase our faith. Let us see your way for us. Let us hear you calling. Move our feet to go where you take us without fear or doubt. Strengthen us to do the work you reveal for us to do. Give us eyes to see the need. Give us hearts to feel the needs. You are the source of our strength and inspiration. Let us sing your songs and pray your prayers. Let us listen with love and speak with wisdom. Let us move one another to do good and to be holy. In Jesus’ name, Amen! Let it be.