At the conclusion of many worship services, a benediction is presented by the minister. In some churches, the officiating minister raises his hand above his head with his palm facing down towards the congregation. In response, those in the pews below extend their arms and hands with palms up. This ceremonial drama portrays the minister giving something special from God to eager congregants hungry to receive.
Well my friends, this is a very old ceremony, perhaps older than you think. It is ancient and been going on for thousands of years. Its origin can be found in Numbers 6:22-27:
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
Today is a special day. Right now, as a priest of Jesus Christ, I would like to do something grand. I would like to get you blessed you this morning wherever you are. Yes, I know it is not Sunday. Yes, I know you are not anywhere near the church building, but I would still like to get you blessed.
How can I do this?
Well my friends, I can’t, but Jesus can.
Jesus Christ is your Great High Priest. He is the one who offered the atoning sacrifice, washed you with his holy water, fed you with his divine bread, leads you by his holy light, and offers forth – on your behalf – the fragrant and acceptable incense loved but the Father.
Jesus Christ is also the Great High Priest who marched through the sacred curtain, into the Holy of Holies, right up to the very throne of God, and there he sits this morning talking to the Holy Father about you.
Jesus Christ is far better than any earthly priest. You may appreciate your minister, pastor, preacher, priest, bishop, or apostle, but he is nothing in comparison to Jesus Christ. Your heavenly priest is the Great High Priest.
Jesus Christ came for you, lived for you, died for you, and rose from the grave for you.
Jesus Christ – without fail – watches over you, intercedes for you, teaches you, and holds on to you. He sends his Spirit to live in you and is acquainted with all your thoughts, desires, questions, cares and prayers. And he will never let you go. Never will he let you wander away without pursuing you.
And today, your Great High Priest desires to bless you again.
So, are you ready for it? Are you hands wide open?
The Lord is blessing you today. That’s right, no curse is coming your way — today, or tomorrow, or forever. All he has is blessing for you since you are identified with him.
The Lord is keeping you today. Satan cannot have you. You cannot leave. He has never lost one of his own, and you will not be the first casualty.
The Lord is making his face shine upon you. Moses could not see his face and live, but his face is shining upon you right now. His Shekinah Glory is looking your way, and you are privileged to bask in his holiness.
The Lord is being gracious to you today. He is not giving you the blessings you deserve. If he did so, no blessings would be coming your way. Neither is he giving you the wrath or punishment you deserve. If that were so, he would be pounding you all the day long. No, he is being gracious to you. He is giving grace to you. Undeserved blessings are yours in abundance because he is giving you what he has earned for you.
The Lord is lifting up his countenance upon you. He is intimately close to you. You are glowing because he is within. You are now holy because he is so near. So holy are you, that people are beginning to discover you smell and glow like him. Shining beacons of holiness you are; shine away.
The Lord is giving you peace. Yes, you are going to endure the holy war today. The devil, the world, and your wicked flesh are opposing God and you. However, in the midst of the conflict, you are enabled to enjoy peace with God, peace within, and peace with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Strife and anxiety characterizes most, but not you today as you rest in him.
And why are you getting all these blessings? It is because …
The Lord has put his name on you. Like a bride takes the name of her husband, so you have received the name of Jesus. You are a Christian. Your name has been written on his hands, engraved in his heart, and penned in his book. You have been forever marked by your God, Savior, Friend, Father, and Groom. You are His, and He is yours.
Yes, my friends, this is your blessing today. Receive it. Enjoy it. Meditate on this for a few minutes.
Then, as fellow priests of the Most High God, pass the blessing of Jesus Christ along to other believers. You are a Christian. You are a disciple. You are holy. You are a saint. You are a priest. Therefore, go to work today. Find a brother or sister in the faith and pass along the blessing you have received from your Great High Priest.