I recently attended a seminar at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, entitled “You Are a Royal Priesthood—God Calls and Equips Christians to Serve One Another,” led by Dr. W. Mart Thompson. The term “royal priesthood” is only mentioned four times in the Bible, Thompson noted, but it truly is a blueprint for how we should live our lives as Christians in this world, since each one of us is called to be a part of the priesthood of all believers.
But what does being a part of the priesthood entail? For an answer to that, Thompson took us to the Old Testament, which outlines very clearly what the role of the temple priests was. Here are 8 characteristics of the Old Testament temple priests:
• Separated and anointed (Exodus 30:22-38)
• Representative (Exodus 28:28-38)
• Mediator of the covenant (Malachi 2:4ff)
• Maintain holiness (Exodus 28:36-38)
• Offers sacrifices (Leviticus 1-9)
• Blesses God’s people (Numbers 6:22-27)
• Instructs God’s people (Malachi 2:7)
• Offers prayers (2 Chronicles 30:27)
I was amazed by how practical and “doable” these characteristics were and how applicable they can be to our lives today as we serve as “little priests.”
Theologians have outlined the 3-fold shape of priestly work for us today, which mirrors the work of the ancient temple priests:
• sacrifice (for God in serving others)
• prayer (speak to God for others)
• proclamation (speak to others for God)
Since this seminar, I have become much more aware of how to live out my calling as a part of the priesthood in these three facets. I can serve where I see need. I can pray multiple times throughout the day. I can talk to people about my faith in Christ more freely and energetically, knowing it is part of my role here on earth.
As 1 Peter 2:9 tells us, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” What a wonderful picture of the life of a Christian!