Religion vs Realism

He can reach you, no matter how far down you've gone.

April 16, 2010 by the stones that the builder rejected

I would like to suggest three functions that describe the responsibility and ministry of a priest. First, a priest is one who knows you exactly the way you are. You don’t have to cover up your faults from him. He knows what it is like to be you. Secondly, a priest is someone who loves you. Although he knows you intimately, he loves you nonetheless. And thirdly, a priest is someone who can help you with the burdens you have to bear in life.

We all need this kind of ministry. Sadly, however, many of us seek it by appealing to human sources. Take marriage, for instance. Some people marry with the expectation that marriage will provide them with the things we have suggested are the functions of a priest. Now marriages do, in a sense, provide a form of priestly exchange. But we all have needs that are beyond the ability of any human being to meet. We cannot let ourselves be known as we really are. We cannot even know ourselves. While much of the world today strives after such things as physical fitness, financial security, or a sense of emotional and psychological wellbeing, the hunger of the human heart still remains. We need a priest, someone who knows us as we really are, loves us without reservation, and is committed to helping us in our need.

Where can we find such a physician for the soul? Today, in our studies in the book of Hebrews, we come to a passage that identifies Jesus Christ as the Priest we all need in our lives. He is the one who has the resources necessary for this intimate personal supply. In Hebrews 6, we saw that Jesus’ ministry is such that “…we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…” (Hebrews 6:18b, 19a). “An anchor for the soul…” What a striking metaphor: an anchor that will hold fast in the midst of the storms and circumstances of life. Earlier we read the words, “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). In Christ we have one who extends mercy to us. He graciously offers to supply us with all we need.

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