x516......Priests and Levites--the bad guys

25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
(Luke 10:25-37, KJV).

A lawyer asks this question--he is a Levite. The question he asks is "who is my neighbor". The right answer according to Jewish law was that only members of Israel were "neighbors" or friends...........

plesion {play-see'-on} adv

----- neighbour 16, near 1; 17

1) a neighbour
1a) a friend
1b) any other person, and where two are concerned, the other
(thy fellow man, thy neighbour), according to the Jews, any
member of the Hebrew nation and commonwealth
1c) according to Christ, any other man irrespective of nation or
religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet

But as the definition says--Christ was redefining the concept of what a neighbor was. In fact He is saying that He is bringing the Gospel to the entire world--not just to Israel.

But look at the story of the good Samaritan closely. Notice that it is the priest and the Levite which are singled out of Israel--singled out as the "bad guys". Jesus is also saying that He is doing away with Levitical priesthood--something which is clearly stated in the book of Hebrews (chapters 5-10).

Well, what does this have to do with us today? After all we do not have Levitical priests in our churches----right???

Unfortunately we do. Most of what we believe about pastoral ministry comes to us from the old testament---it is dark ages tradition which dictates our operational plan for the Christian church. Specifically the pastor of the church takes on the role of the priest--the Levite. If one studies books on pastoral training--we will find that they often speak of the pastor as the "levite" of the church. He has the right to collect the tithe--to be the one person who operates the ministry of the temple--to be the "delegated--designated" person who "has authority" over the rest of the church. This is the exact definition of the Levite--but according to Jesus, the Levite--the priest is the person who has misdefined the meaning of neighbor--the person who is not open to God--the person who is the "bad guy" in the story.

Again, just think--what if--in ages past (don't ever forget, the Christian church is 2,000 years old and has been influenced by many many people over the ages!!)--people unknowingly (or perhpas not!--perhaps driven by greed!) looked to the old covenant for an operational plan for the church. What if this plan became firm tradition--in ages past when supposedly everyone was a Christian (by baptism as a baby!!)--the church became rooted in rule and authority and politics and teaching--rather than apostleship--evangelism--prophecy--in all and through all--(as the Bible says in 1 corinthians chapters 12-14--somebody read the Book!!).

What if we've been turned back--to think that an authoritative pastor/priest is the way to operate the Christian church?--Instead of a simple "user-friendly system that Jesus and the church in the Bible demonstrate in scripture-!

What do you think?