Summary: A message for ministers about some pitfalls into which clergy may fall. It looks at the hypocrisy of the priesthood in the days when Jesus was on the earth.
I Peter 2:5,9-11 “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ…But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”
Matthew 27:6-7 “And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.” Here is a sad commentary on the state of the priesthood of ancient Israel. While the Prince of Babylon has used fierce persecution, and so he vents in his hatred toward the redeemed, he is also very astute and patient. The first persecution of the church beginning at Jerusalem did not destroy her, but rather promoted the spread of Christianity to regions beyond. Let us not forget the devil “walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” It is his nature to mar and destroy. “The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” But we know through careful observation that what he has not been able to destroy outright, and we believe he relishes such destruction of life, albeit physical destruction when he is not able to destroy the soul, he attempts and with large success to destroy slowly by corrupting over time through the use of careful methodology until the seeds of corruption break forth and weave themselves like the weeds of the field into the very fabric of whole societies.
Let us ponder for a moment why the devil so spitefully seeks our ruin.
1) Because we are God’s delight, created to fellowship directly with God.
2) Because we were made in the image of God, which image the devil seeks to banish, just as he sought to usurp the Most High.
3) Because he knows his time is short to do the outworking of his corrupt nature, and finally and which is the focus of the message
4) Because we every believer is made partaker of the royal priesthood, and the rite of the ministry of reconciliation has been entrusted to us.
What a pathetic condition of religion among the Jews that we see before our eyes in this passage. We must not forget that the oracles of God were committed unto the Jewish people. Hear what our Lord says when speaking with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews.” Jesus Christ the Jew did not come to abolish Judaism, but to lead His nation into the salvation for which He had prepared them through the Law and Prophets, the New Covenant, yea and not His nation only but to show the Jews that they as the chosen people were the gateway through which God would open up the doors of salvation to whomsoever will come. Paul states in his Epistle to the Romans, “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”
Furthermore, Satan has intrinsically sought the destruction of the Jewish people from the days of their bondage in Egypt to the atrocities of Nazism to the present clashing of the Muslim nations in the Middle East and moreover the antagonism of the devilish Muslim faith in all nations toward the Chosen People. But when the devil would have destroyed the Jews in Egypt, through the edict of the Pharaoh that all male Jews born be euthanized, God sent a Moses. When Balak sought curses against the holy nation through the mouthpiece of the prophet Balaam, God changed his curses into words of blessings. Suffice it to say that what the devil was inept to destroy through whatever means, he wormed his way into the hearts of the religious leadership, and made the Divine Law to be nothing more than a lifeless code of rituals. What do we see in these men in the verses of our passage that is so striking?
I. FIRST, THEY WERE MORE INTERESTED IN MONEY THAN MINISTRY. That they hastily gathered up the thirty pieces of silver from the temple floor as Judas in his bewildered state is leaving their presence is not to their credit. There is no offer to help this fellow for whom they openly show their contempt. Jesus rightly stated regarding them,