When God tells the Israelites how to anoint the first priests, He says something that ought to make us pause: He says, "Treat them as holy."
Treat the priests as holy, before they have even done anything. Treat them as holy, before you even know whether they are a good priest or not. Treat them as holy, no matter what you might think of them otherwise. Because the Lord has declared them holy, and they are holy. Period.
This is important for us as a people who are prone to withhold our good will from others. We spend so much of our lives trying to judge whether someone else is good or not. Whether someone else is worthy or not. When we pass a person on the street with a sign scribbled on cardboard, we start to wonder whether that person is really homeless or just trying to scam us, whether they have a true need, whether they're just going to take our money and blow it on drugs or alcohol or whatever.
We are a jaded people, I guess, if you want to call it that. We feel like our greatest calling is to protect our things, to protect our reputations, to protect our world from "degenerates." We take it as some kind of badge of moral honor if we "correctly" determine that someone else isn't worth whatever it is they're asking for or whatever they are claiming to need. We love "outing" others, proving that they aren't who they claim to be. There's something in us that feels a great sense of triumph when we determine that someone isn't worthy.
Like, phew, we dodged a bullet there.
But that's not what God says. That's not how God says we should approach others in our world.
God says, treat them as holy. Because I have made them holy. And they are holy. Period.
This is true of everyone in our world, not just our priests. It's just that we see it more clearly when God says it so plainly in Leviticus, but the truth is that He said it in the very beginning. He said, Let us create man in our image, and that right there means that every single human being who walks the earth, who has ever walked the earth, is created with the inherent dignity of being a human being created in the image of God. Every single human being is a divine image-bearer. And that makes them holy.
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