The Ministry of Priesthood
By: Apostle Skhumbuzo Sangweni
For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin (Heb 4:15)
Deep down in the heart of men there is a strong and instinctive demand for a priest, to be a mediator, to lay one hand on man, and the other on God, and going between both to bring the two together into unification. A priest or priesthood infers that there is a reason why such has been called into play. It denotes that there is an estrangement between God and His creatures and the priest ministers to bridge that gulf and bring about peace and at-one-ment.
Webster’s dictionary defines priest as: a mediatory agent between God and man. In the Old Testament the word priest is translated from the Hebrew word COHEN, the root meaning of which is “one who stands up and draws nigh for another.” The Greek word, in its root, means “to minister.” Thus, a priest is one who “draws near and ministers on behalf of another.” And the priest always draws nigh and ministers in TWO DIRECTIONS – drawing nigh to God on behalf of the people and drawing nigh to the people on behalf of God. The priest stands and ministers unto the Lord on behalf of the people while, on the other hand, he ministers unto the people on behalf of the Lord. The ministry of the priest is an intermediate or go-between ministry. He reaches out with one hand and takes hold of God; he reaches out with the other hand and takes hold of humanity; and he brings the two together by virtue of his priestly ministration.
The inspired writer to the Hebrew saints says of our Lord Jesus Christ: “We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a MINISTER OF THE SANCTUARY, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and nut man” (Heb. 8:1-2). What does he mean what does he mean when he says that Christ is the “Minister of the Sanctuary”? In every temple there was a god, an unseen god, to whom the temple was devoted. But there was a priest, the priest of that temple, who was to receive the petitions or the sacrifices of the worshipper and to get the answer back from God. So it was with Aaron in the Old Testament. It is said of him and of the priests of Israel, “they shall stand in My presence to minister,” and they shall go out and bless in My name.”