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Jesus, the Priest, part 1
Jesus means many things to many people; His birth affects everyone one way or the other. To some He is Savior, to others He is a fraud. You can have any opinion about Jesus, except no opinion, because the truth is you have to either accept or reject His claims on your life. This Advent Season we will be looking at Jesus from the perspective of the different roles He fulfills. Last week we looked at Jesus the Prophet, this week we will be considering, Jesus the Priest.
What do you think of when you think of a priest? Most likely you think of a pastor, a person who is appointed to lead a church – maybe in particular, a Catholic church. Now, even though I’m a pastor I know full well that just because you might think of a priest as someone who leads the church like a pastor, your opinion might very well be mixed. People generally have mixed feelings about the clergy. On the good side, people assume that a priest is someone who knows the Will of God and has studied God’s Word to know the wisdom found there. People think of priests as loving, kind, caring people.
They think that ministers don’t have the same sins, temptations, or bad habits that they have; some don’t even think that they can talk to their pastor because they don’t think the minister will understand the temptations that they are struggling with — after all, what does a minister know about doubt, anger, hatred, lust, or greed? They see ministers as people who are willing to give their lives to serve God and their fellow man, somehow set above and beyond the average Christian. That’s not a bad view to have.
But, there’s another side to this view of minister as well – a negative side. Some people think that they can’t relate their problems, struggles and sins to a minister because they think that the minister would not be able to relate to their sins. Sometimes people think that minister won’t have anything to do with them because of their sins; they think that a minister won’t want to talk to somebody who is sinful. Others don’t like ministers because they think that ministers are ‘holier than thou,’ looking down on people who aren’t free from sin like they are. For whatever reason, a lot of people have the idea that they cannot get to know their minister because there is simply too much of a difference between clergy and lay people.
As many of you know, I have never been excited about the word "Reverend" as a title for a minister, and I rarely use it myself. I also don’t like wearing a clerical collar or robe in the pulpit. For that matter, I’m not terribly fond of wearing a suit. I struggle with most things that emphasize the difference between the regular person and the priest or pastor. I would rather be called "Brad" than "Reverend."I don’t want to wear clothes that will make people treat me differently because I am a minister. I want people to know that I am a regular person like they are. I’ll try to be a good example, I’ll try to know the Bible, I’ll try to show God’s love and wisdom, I’ll try to fulfill the duties of my calling to the fullest; but I don’t want people thinking of me as being somehow different than they are simply because I’m a minister. I’ve said it before, but I consider it an honor and a compliment when people say that I am not like most ministers.
Priests and pastors have too often been seen as removed from the lives of ordinary people, and as a result a lot of people don’t think that ministers can relate to their needs. If a minister is somehow better, wiser, or more sheltered than you are, how can he/she understand the things that you are struggling with? This concept of a minister being different than the rest of people goes back a long, long way.
Medication: A Merry Heart
Little Johnny burst through the front door with a smile on his face. Surprised, his mother asked, “Why are you home from school so early?”
Johnny said, “They let me go early because I was the only one who could answer a tough question.”
“Oh, really? What was the question?” his mother asked.
“‘Who threw the eraser at the teacher?’”
God Bless, Press On!
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: John 3:16 NIV
Today’s readings: 2 Corinthians 1 – 4