Partners in Christian Mission

June/July 2020

June/July 2020

Priests - The Interceding Nation

theological reflection:

Liam Conway is studying a Masters of Divinity by distance through Malyon College, Queensland. The two most impactful units so far are Old Testament Overview and a Catechisis unit. In studying these, the question of what it meant for Jesus to hold these offices of Prophet, Priest and King; and for our adoption to God to extend those offices to the Church. This has led to asking about the lengths of Adoption, and how God sees us if we are his children.

Christ exists in three offices, Prophet, Priest, and King. As Co-heirs and benefactors of Christ's actions I wonder, to what extent do these offices pass on to us? What are the offices to start with? And can knowing about the offices improve our knowledge of ourselves and Christ? This article looks the Priestly office, God's interceding nation.

READ Part One of this series: Prophets - the Haunted Advocates >>>

Who were the Priests?

The most relevant priests are the Levitical Priests. The clans of Levi had roles to play in the care and maintenance of the Temple. They were the religious officials of the nation of Israel, charged with the care and maintenance of the Tabernacle and, eventually the Temple.

There are priests mentioned earlier in the Bible like Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18) and Jethro (Exodus 18:1), who organise and run their communities, as well as serve God either as a king or patriarch.

What did they do?

The key work of the priests was intercession between God and his people. They were the people who studied and taught the Law, and administered sacrifices to the nation of Israel.

Their office allowed people to come to God clean and renewed through the spilling of a blood sacrifice. This blood sacrifice washed away the past sins of a supplicant if they came with the correct heart, and would restore ceremonial relationship between God and the individual.

The end goal of these practices was a redemption of the heart, taught through actions, and eventually with words. The coming to a place to humble yourself, and be humbled before the Creator, in a hope of relationship with that Creator.

How does Jesus become our Priest?

1693 Baptist Catechism Q 28: 'Christ executes the Office of a Priest in his once offering up of himself a Sacrifice to satisfy Divine Justice and reconcile us to God and in making continual Intercession for us.'

Jesus takes it upon himself to act for our best interests before the Father. He intercedes for our sins completely, first by coming as a human and being God with his people, and secondly through his death, atoning for the sins of mankind every-when.

As Emanuel he shows humans who God is, sitting as the Way and Bread of life that invites people to know the Father. As Christ on the cross he disbands all the bonds of Sin upon us, and purchases for us redemption. To illustrate, imagine a sleep over.

Two kids get the idea to stay together for the night but they have to decide on whose house to say. For one they come from a broken and difficult home, and they struggle to even have people around for an hour. The other comes from a loving family. So that child goes to their father and asks if they can have a sleep over.

That's what Jesus does for us. He's constantly pestering the Father to have us over and stay the night so we can live a better life.

The father says "Of course, your friend is always welcome."

As these kids grow up together the first child's family becomes more difficult, and eventually they're forced onto the street. The other goes to their Dad again, and asks if their friend can stay with them permanently. Their father immediately goes to rescue the first child, cares for them, deals with the difficulties of their abuse and helps them to grow into being an excellent adult.

That's what Jesus does for us. He's constantly pestering the Father to have us over and stay the night so we can live a better life.

What does that mean for us?

For us we are called to be a nation of Priests in 1 Peter 2, we are called to do in part what Jesus does for us. Which I think for us means we should dispense with the language that removes this sacred purpose.

You are a holy nationWe are God's chosen people, here to invite, and intercede for our world before God. We won't see the fullness of this yet, but let us step towards that sacred nation, held to a high moral standard, but kind and welcoming as God is to us.

Practically this means developing our hospitality, being vulnerable enough to help others, praying, and upholding others in their life. Interceding for our loved ones in their times of need and being a sacred nation for this world.

We are to others as Jesus was to us, and we are invited to grow in that way as often as possible.

Blessings and thank you for reading.

Liam Conway

READ Part 3 - Jesus the King >>>

Liam Conway is the under-25 ministry apprentice at Hobart Baptist church. Recently married and having grown up in the Baptist Church, Liam is presently studying his Masters of Divinity by distance, through Malyon Theological College in Queensland. He and his wife live in Mount Stuart with their cat, Lilly, who is an adorable terror with some very serious opinions on the comfort of laptops.

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