The Only Priest You’ll Ever Need!

When I was in Virginia a few months ago, I was with a dear friend of mine, who presided over my wedding to Sara and has remained a lifelong friend. He is a Methodist minister and also a church historian. When I was with him recently he asked me if I knew historically how the priests in the third-century took on the role of being confessors as mediators between God and man? I told him I did not and what he said fascinated me.

It seems all the heretical movements that sprung up in the 2nd and 3rd centuries had one thing in common. They denied the divine nature of Christ. To combat this, those who fought for orthodoxy crafted their creeds and confessions by embellishing the divine nature of Christ. Though it affirmed him as “man of very man”, its emphasis was on “God of very God”. In time the emphasis on his human nature almost vanished and his humanity was only considered for the brief time he actually lived in the flesh, but was thought of in his current state as the exalted King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

He went on to say that we are wired in such a way that we need a human mediator to usher us into the presence of God. When we lost our sense of the humanity of Jesus, it was natural for us to want to place someone between God and us. The priests and clergy took on that role as a mediator between God and man and people were content to let them do that. Then he looked at me and smiled, “And don’t think you Charismatics get a pass on this. Your dependence on pastoral, apostolic, and prophetic people reflects that same reality.”

I didn’t fight him. I understood exactly what he was saying and saw in my own past how I believed Jesus was a man when he was here, but have always seen him more today as the King of Kings, than my older brother. He still lives on as fully God and fully human, as the firstborn of the new creation. This has had some profound effect in my own personal relationship with Jesus. While I still embrace him as the High King seated at the right hand of God the Father, I am also seeing him there as my older brother and the only mediator I or anyone else will ever need.

It has begun to work some wonderful changes in my heart. It doesn’t diminish his deity at all, but defines it in a more awesome way. It makes me even re-think what we call the Parable of the Prodigal son. What if the older brother in that parable would have been Jesus instead of the religious junkie he was? How would Jesus have acted differently in going out to his brother and letting him know that there is still room in Father’s house for him? Amazing stuff!

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6 Comments
  1. J September 28, 2005 at 9:03 am

    Good stuff Wayne. But I have a question. How do you get from thining it to actually living that out? I know the answer lies in God and God alone, but somehow what I know cognitively sometimes doesn’t translate to what I actually do. Just being honest.

  2. J September 28, 2005 at 12:03 pm

    Good stuff Wayne. But I have a question. How do you get from thining it to actually living that out? I know the answer lies in God and God alone, but somehow what I know cognitively sometimes doesn’t translate to what I actually do. Just being honest.

  3. Fran September 29, 2005 at 7:23 pm

    I was so glad to read some historical background for something that I have wondered about for awhile. Having been exposed to the "prophetic" and "apostolic" leadership model of church life I couldn’t get past the feeling that another layer of "leadership" was being inserted between myself and my Heavenly Father. In the church I have been attending I seem to find myself more and more often at odds with the different levels of leadership that keep appearing (they’re multiplying like rabbits) even though I am considered a Bible study leader myself. Is there a way out without an explosion?

  4. Fran September 29, 2005 at 10:23 pm

    I was so glad to read some historical background for something that I have wondered about for awhile. Having been exposed to the "prophetic" and "apostolic" leadership model of church life I couldn’t get past the feeling that another layer of "leadership" was being inserted between myself and my Heavenly Father. In the church I have been attending I seem to find myself more and more often at odds with the different levels of leadership that keep appearing (they’re multiplying like rabbits) even though I am considered a Bible study leader myself. Is there a way out without an explosion?

  5. Kelly October 1, 2005 at 10:26 am

    This reminded me of the people in the OT who pretty much told Moses that he could go talk to God and then come tell them what He had said – they were afraid that they would be killed if they came directly to Him. I guess it is human nature to be afraid of Him. But I think that is because we really don’t have a ‘good seeing’ of Him and Who He is and how very much He loves us.

    For me, the more He reveals Jesus in me and to me, the more He reveals His incredible love for me – the more my walk with Him is adjusted. It is no longer me thinking rightly – it is Life living in and through me – and this takes time – at least it has in my case.

    Fran, my history sounds similar to yours – lots and lots of layers of ‘leaders’ – lots and lots of ‘this is my turf’ stuff. I’ve been out of that for several years and each story is different, but I believe that as you listen to the silent whisper of the Holy Spirit in your heart, He will show you a way through and perhaps it will be the way out.

  6. Kelly October 1, 2005 at 1:26 pm

    This reminded me of the people in the OT who pretty much told Moses that he could go talk to God and then come tell them what He had said – they were afraid that they would be killed if they came directly to Him. I guess it is human nature to be afraid of Him. But I think that is because we really don’t have a ‘good seeing’ of Him and Who He is and how very much He loves us.

    For me, the more He reveals Jesus in me and to me, the more He reveals His incredible love for me – the more my walk with Him is adjusted. It is no longer me thinking rightly – it is Life living in and through me – and this takes time – at least it has in my case.

    Fran, my history sounds similar to yours – lots and lots of layers of ‘leaders’ – lots and lots of ‘this is my turf’ stuff. I’ve been out of that for several years and each story is different, but I believe that as you listen to the silent whisper of the Holy Spirit in your heart, He will show you a way through and perhaps it will be the way out.

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