Priests: Called for the Divine Ministry
“No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was”.(V.15)
William Perkins once said, “He who would be a faithful minister of the gospel must deny the pride of his heart, be emptied of ambition, and set himself wholly to seek the glory of God in his calling.” In Hebrews 5, we see what it means to be called to ministry, and how we are to emulate Jesus, the High Priest.
First, in verse two and three, we see that the writer of Hebrews makes a clear point to note that the priest is able to connect with the people, simply due to the fact that he is also sinful. In Romans 3:23, we read, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This means that, no person is perfect, including the clergy. One of the most powerful parts that impacts me in our liturgy is in the Sedra of our Holy Qurbana where the priest prays, “O Lord God, who makes the sinner righteous, pardons our sins and makes us holy, blot out all my sins. Through Your loving mercy, good Lord wipe away the sins of all believers.” First, the priest prays for forgiveness of their own sins, and then only will pray for the forgiveness of the people. Then, the question arises, what is the purpose of ministry? The answer, we realize, is that ministry is not about one person being better than the rest of the people, but rather, everyone growing together, and the minister is meant to direct the people to Christ.
In verse four, the writer of Hebrews points out an important aspect of ministry. It’s not an honor that a person simply takes on themselves. Without a calling to ministry, there will be no fruitfulness of ministry. God must call the individual to minister to the people. Jesus Christ was given the direction by God the Father to carry the cup, and because He was obedient, even to the point of death on a cross, He fulfilled God’s wishes. That says something about why an individual is called to serve Christ and minister to the Church. When we are obedient to Christ’s calling in our life, we are able to impact lives and bring many to Christ.
Prayer: Jesus, the High Priest that we are called to emulate, enable us to serve You and minister to the church by displaying Your love and imparting the message of grace, thereby gaining more souls for the Kingdom. Amen.
Thought for the Day: “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”
Mathew Stan Samuel, St. Paul's MTC, Dallas