1 Peter 2:4-10
Jeff Overton, lead pastor
Beulah Baptist Church, Douglasville
Most of us, when we hear the word “priest,” have certain images that come to mind. We can think of the priest in the Roman Catholic Church or we may think of the priest that we have read about in the Bible. We usually do not think of ourselves in the role of priest and yet we read in our text today that we are a holy and royal priesthood – a priesthood of believers. Now when we think about our role in the priesthood of the believers we can see our “priestly responsibilities.”
The priest we read about in the Bible had certain responsibilities. Many of these are also seen in our role as a holy priesthood. We are responsible to offer sacrifices. In the Bible, the priest would offer animal sacrifices.
In our role, because we have this new life in Christ that makes us living stones, we offer spiritual sacrifices, not animal sacrifices. The animal sacrifice is no longer sufficient because of the sacrifice of Christ. The spiritual sacrifices we offer are evangelistic in nature. We are to live a life of sacrifice and praise to our Savior that others around the world may come to know Him and worship Him.
The priest also had the privilege of entering into the presence of God. This is true of our priesthood as well. Through the sacrifice of Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit, we have access to the throne room of God. We are able to come before Him with our concerns for our fellow believers and for those who have yet to believe.
As the priest would come into the presence of God he would make a sacrifice on the altar of God. Today, we come as priest and according to Romans 12:1 we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice.
As this holy and royal priesthood, we are to live out our spiritual sacrifices on a daily basis. We are to learn The Word and then live out the Word. We are to deny ourselves and crucify our flesh daily that we may live our lives by faith and not in the flesh.
Peter refers to Christ as the cornerstone. The cornerstone is the anchor of the building. It is shaped around the cornerstone. We are called as this holy priesthood to be shaped by Jesus the cornerstone. We must let our priesthood reveal Christ in us in all that we do. He is the foundation to all that we are as priests. We are to serve the Master and honor Him in all that we do.
The priest had the responsibility as well of proclaiming God and pointing people to Him. As this holy priesthood, we have this responsibility. Peter, in verse 9, does a great job of describing the responsibility of this holy and royal priesthood. He tells us we are a royal priesthood. We cannot deny that calling. We are priests.
He goes on to say that we are a holy nation, a people for His own possession. We belong to Him. He has not only called us – He has bought us. We have been purchased through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Then Peter lays out the purpose: “that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. “He goes on to say, “once you were not a people, now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Peter tells us the purpose of this holy priesthood is to bring people out of darkness into God’s marvelous light.
This is the role for every believer. Each believer belongs to this priesthood and should be active in accomplishing the mission to pierce the darkness with the marvelous light of our Lord.
This mission of piercing the darkness is accomplished as each of us shares our story of how we were once in darkness and now we walk in light. We tell of how we once had no mercy but met the mercy of God. We tell of how we were once rebels against God and now we are a royal and holy priesthood living for Him.
Indeed, Peter is very clear that we are a priesthood of believers. We were rejected by men but we were chosen by God to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices. As we accomplish our tasks in our roles as priest, the darkness is pushed back and we have the joy of bringing others into the marvelous light of our Lord.
This world has become a place of great darkness. It is time for the priesthood of believers to shine. Paul wrote in Philippians 2:14-15 (ESV) – Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as light in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” (Emphasis mine).
We are called to the priesthood of believers; let us not run or labor in vain. Instead, let us shine as His light in this world.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
- What does it mean to belong to the priesthood of believers?
- How can we push back the darkness as “priests”?
- How does it impact your life to know that Jesus is our Cornerstone?