A “PRIEST” in the Bible is known as someone whom God has designated and equipped to be a minister on behalf of His people. Priests were officials in Israel who represented the people before God and performed various ministries to atone for their sins. The first priests were descended from Aaron in the days of Moses.
The first priest mentioned in scripture is Melchizedek, a contemporary of Abraham. Melchizedek blessed Abraham and his army following the great victory over the pagan king Chedorlaomer.
Melchizedek was the King of Salem who served as Priest to the God Most High (Genesis 14:18). The Bible goes on to claim that Melchizedek was eternal in nature (Hebrews 7:1-3). He became a foretaste of the coming Messiah who would give His own life as a sacrifice for the sins of the people.
Someone asked me recently, “What happened to the SHEPHERDING model of ministry that we once believed was so important?”
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
Jesus understood Himself to be the great shepherd because He is the one and only PRIEST born according to the order of Melchizedek.
There was a poor farmer who lived alone in the country accept for an old lop-eared dog on which he doted. One day the old dog passed away and the farmer went to the Baptist Preacher in town and asked, “Preacher my dog has finally died. Would it be possible for you to say a few words for the animal?”
The minister sharply refused, “We cannot possibly have a service for a deceased animal in this church. I’ll tell you what; there is a new church down the road of some new ideological stripe that might help you out. No telling what they believe in.”
The farmer replied, “I will give them a call. By the way, do you think a $1,000 would be a sufficient donation for the service?”
To which the preacher said, “Why didn’t you tell me your dog was a Baptist?
Ministry in our day has many faces, anywhere from the television evangelist, to the social media advisor, to the best-selling author, or the corporate executive at the top of a bulging staff enterprise. There are all kinds of ministries and ministers.
The Bible seems to favor those who Shepherd. It was the shepherds who heard the angels sing on that first Christmas night. It was the shepherd boy David that God called to become King over Israel. The coming Messiah foretold in scripture would be fashioned in the mold of a shepherd;
“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11).
Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, was God’s Great High Priest. He is our good Shepherd who takes care of His flock. It is Jesus who is worthy of our worship this morning. Christmas is a time for worship. It is a time for shepherding people. Maybe God is calling you to assume a PRIESTLY attitude where you joyfully serve as a shepherd to someone in need.
Praise God for our High Priest, Jesus, who is also our loving and caring Shepherd.