Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
The role of a priest can be simplified in these two functions, to represent God before the people and to intercede for people before God. In the old Levitical model, we see the Levites being the only ones who ascend to this office but that is not so in the new testament.
Jesus comes and chooses 12 common men for two reasons;
Mark 3:14 NKJV
14 Then He appointed twelve, [a]that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach,
The reason he called them to be with him first, is that he wanted to train them into the New Testament priesthood. When we think about Jesus and why he came we mainly focus on his death on the cross but we forget the other important purpose he came for, which was to establish the New Testament priesthood and to do that he had to train his disciples to function in that capacity. While he was here he walked with them and demonstrated to them hands-on how to function in this new office of the New Testament priesthood.
After he finished his training he died on the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven leaving a band of men he had trained to keep the work going and to share the good news.
Think about the two key roles of a priest and the two greatest commandments that Jesus shared.
The first is to love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind. This can also be found in Deuteronomy 6 and it is a Jewish prayer known as the “Shema”. One of the roles of a priest is to represent God to the people and you cannot do that unless you have a deep personal relationship with Him. You must love him with all your heart mind and soul. You must know his heart hear his voice (Prayer and the Word) the main disciplines of the priesthood.
Jesus not only taught this but also demonstrated the same to his disciples. He quoted a lot from the scriptures and he often went to solitary places to pray. He said he only did what he saw the father do.
The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. When your vertical relationship with God is right, then you will represent him before others, and not only that, you will intercede for others before him because of the love you have for them recognizing that you were once as lost as they are, but through Gods grace and mercy which is also available to them, you were redeemed. If this is not evangelism and the great commission then I don’t know what is!
As New Testament priests, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation, to represent God before the people and to intercede for the people before God. We can sum it up in this manner; “The great Commitment” loving the Lord with all our heart mind and soul, which gives birth to “The Great Commission” going out to make disciples of all nations, loving your neighbor as yourself!
Have you ever considered that you are a new Testament priest?
As a priest representing God to the people, you need to know him and hear what he is saying lest you misrepresent him. This you do through Prayer and reading the word and teaching it to those you disciple. How faithful are you in these two priestly disciplines
When people saw a priest, they saw God! Do people see or experience God when they interact with you in the sphere God has planted you as his representative?