1 Peter 2:9 - But you all are ... a royal priesthood ... that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
This devotion pairs with this weekend's Lutheran Hour sermon, which can be found at lutheranhour.org.
One of the more action-packed nouns in the Latin language is the word, "pontifex." It's a compound noun. The first syllable, "pon," means "bridge." The second half is from the verb, "to make." So, a pon-tifex is a bridge-maker—a bridge-builder. Pontifex is also the Latin word for "priest." And this can help us understand what Peter means when he calls Christians a "priesthood."
When Peter calls the people a community of priests, in some ways he's going back to the beginning, when God created heaven and earth and everything in them. Heaven was God's realm, like a spiritual city that God fills and filled with spiritual beings He created—angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven (see Psalm 148:1-5). God had His city, and He also created an earthly city, a physical realm. From the beginning, God wanted these two cities to be united. So, God created a special creature, made from the dirt of the earth-city, yet filled with God's own Spirit, God's heavenly breath. God made these creatures to be His bridge, to join heaven and earth. As it says in Genesis 1:27a, "God created humankind in His own image."
Now, there's more to the Bible's story about how things went terribly wrong—how there was a rebellion among some of the spiritual beings who led the bridge-builders into a rebellion. And the image of God was lost. But let's pause the story a moment and remember what human beings were created to be. You, whoever you are, you were made to be a bridge-builder. Consider your eyes: when they contact the eyes of another human being, they have power to build a bridge. And your vocal chords, your mouth, your ears, they're for bridge-building, too. Even a brief exchange of words, a smile without a word, a hand on someone's shoulder can build a bridge. Despite the damage sin has done, we were created to be a community of priests—God's bridge-builders.
But the damage was done. And there's no going back. So, God came down. God's Son became one of us—a heavenly breath-filled, dirt creature—to be what we failed to be. Jesus bore our guilt and stands in our place to restore access to God, to reunite heaven and earth. Born again by faith in Jesus (see 1 Peter 1:3), we become what we were made to be: a bridge connecting people with people and all to God.
Since becoming a pastor, I've continued to serve in the military, in the Air Force Reserves. I'm not a chaplain. I still do my old job in aircraft maintenance. True, it is not the most spiritual-sounding part-time job for a clergyman. It's an earthly calling among salty people with colorful language. In that context, my job is not to preach sermons. And yet, even there I am a priest. The same goes for you, wherever God has stationed you. In those action-packed callings, you can connect with people no one else can reach, because you also were created, saved, and called to be a bridge-builder for Jesus, our King.
WE PRAY: Dear Father, let Your kingdom come, through us, on earth as in heaven. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Rev. Dr. Michael Zeigler, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour.
1. Make a diagram (on paper or in your mind) of your various callings—at home, work, neighborhood, congregation, volunteer activities, etc. Consider the faces you see there. Which of them seem disconnected from God?
2. When could you devote time to pray for them? How would you pray for them?
3. What are some ways you could continue to connect with them, relationally, in Jesus' Name?
Today's Bible Readings: 1 Samuel 15-16 Luke 20:1-26
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