Sermon in a nutshell: Are you able or disable? (Leviticus 21:16-23)
We were not able to serve God.
The Bible tells us that all humans are sinners. That means that we have nothing to do with God as we are. Sin has separated us from God. The Bible calls this status death. We are born dead spiritually. This disqualifies us to serve God.
This principle was reflected in the laws.
The laws concerning the qualification of the priests talk about blemish. Blemish is defined as “a small mark or flaw that spoils the appearance of something.” It is flaw or defect. Sometimes it means discoloration or disfigurement. The meaning of blemish is illustrated in the scripture passage: “No one of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the food of his God. For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, one who is blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or one who has a broken foot or a broken hand, or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a blemish in his eyes or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles.”
Some churches add more rules to this list. Academic background, racial background, family situation, sex, marital status, and age are added. However, they are not listed in the Bible! They may argue that the biblical list was just illustrative and not exhaustive.
Now our flaws were cured by Jesus on the Cross!
Those who had blemish could neither offer offerings to God nor come near to the curtain or altar. However, they were able to eat food by God’s grace: “No descendant of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the Lord’s offerings by fire; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God. He may eat the food of his God, of the most holy as well as of the holy. But he shall not come near the curtain or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries; for I am the Lord; I sanctify them. Thus Moses spoke to Aaron and to his sons and to all the people of Israel.”
However, these strict restrictions were lifted up by the Grace of Jesus! In Matthew 9:13 Jesus says, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” Apostle Paul also says, “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
When Jesus died for us sinners our relationship with God has been restored. When we are treated as righteous by God, we can offer our offerings to
God and do God’s work! In this ministry, neither physical nor social blemish would block people to be ministers of God!
We are able to serve God through the Grace of Jesus
In this time and age after the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, there are still people who want to apply this Old Testament rules to the servants of God. There is no one righteous person among humans. Not one! We are all saved by Jesus. When we serve God, we are able to do it through the Grace of Jesus.
We see now blind or lame pastors. We have pastors who have mutilated face or a limb too long or one who has a broken foot or a broken hand, or a hunchback, or a dwarf.” The list goes on and on. Jesus opened the door widely to everybody who wants to serve God!
Of course some are more effective and some are not that effective. Some are good for small number of people and some are fit for mega churches. Some have affinity with marginalized people and some are welcomed by the successful. However, all are needed and all are invited to do God’s works for God’s diverse people. One size does not fit to all. We need them all! The only questions that we need to ask to all the servants is this: Do you believe in Jesus and love Him? If so, let the person serve God. There will be one person that only the servant can serve. Then the servant is the right one for the ministry!
- What are the qualifications for a person to be your pastor?
- In what sense your standards are biblical?