1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
What does it mean to be a royal priesthood? Most of us sing about it and even quote this scripture, but we don’t really give it much thought. I’d like to explore it a little bit with you today.
Let’s look at the term royal. The Hebrew word “basileios” is rendered “a king” in this verse and is not the word “basilikos” which means “belonging to a king, or royal”. So it is more fitting to say that Peter was saying that we are “a kingly priesthood” or a priesthood made of kings. In Revelation, John said that He made us “kings and priests…” Both had a revelation from God the Father of the marvelous truths of what became our inheritance in Christ! This is deeper than I have time or space to cover. Just wetting your appetite!
Then there is priesthood! Without going too much into historical detail, Aaron began the priesthood. He and his descendants served as priests in Israel, ministering in the Tabernacle of the Wilderness until the first temple was constructed. Their primary function was to serve as mediators between God and man, and to offer up offerings and sacrifices to God. Are you getting excited yet?
As believers we actually can go to God and be mediators for others. When you lead someone to the Lord, you are a mediator between the sinner and the Father. Of course, we know and understand that Jesus is the Ultimate Mediator for all of us, but He allows us to mediate on others behalf. When we pray for others, our intercession is an act of mediation. We are given the awesome responsibility of going to God and asking Him to move in the life, situation, or circumstance of another individual. And because we are priests, we don’t have to go to a priest, pastor, prophet or anyone else to get God’s attention! I am not knocking the wonderful men and women of God who stand in the ministry gifts, I’ve been truly blessed by many of them, but I don’t have to have them go to God for me, because I have access to go on my own. And so do you! But then, I am pretty sure you understand that already!
Then there is the responsibility of sacrifices. What kinds of sacrifices are we responsible for as priests. A few come immediately to my mind. First, we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to Him, holy and acceptable (Romans 12:1)! And then there is the sacrifice of praise that we are to offer to Him (Hebrews 13:15). Another sacrifice is offerings to the Lord! Did you know sacrifice and offerings are paired together frequently in the Word, especially in the Old Testament? We are to give offerings to the Lord as part of our priestly duties. Have you ever made the connection before between offerings, praise, worship, and a life submitted to the Lord as priestly? Well, it is! And if you are already doing these things, keep up the good work!! And if you are not, get busy king-priest, your assignment is waiting for you!
One last thing about the priesthood. In verse 5 of the same chapter, Peter refers to a holy priesthood. So the priesthood of kings is to be holy before the Lord. As a holy priesthood we offer spiritual sacrifices before the Lord, but as a royal priesthood we show forth the Lord’s excellence. I once heard Joel Osteen share a testimony about a king. He said that a certain king enjoyed playing golf and had invited a celebrity golfer (don’t remember the name) to play golf with him in his kingdom. They played golf together and it was an enjoyable experience for both. Then the king told the golfer he wanted to do something for him. Well, the golfer was thinking that maybe the king would buy him a new set of golf clubs, but the king purchased him an entire golf club! The place, not the sticks!! The point, if we are kings, we need to start thinking like kings!!! Our King is great and greatly to be praised. There is none like Him. He’s no wimp and He doesn’t think small!!
Both the Old and the New Testaments reveal the position that God desires of His people. We’ve fallen short of who we are, and just like the Israelites we have shunned our position of king priests and allowed others to stand in our place! Shout, “No more, Father! I am willing accept to accept the call to king priesthood!” I know I am! Wonderful Jesus!