“And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:7
Imagine asking a modern day priest if he was a disciple of Christ. To some, it may seem an odd question. To others rhetorical. Priests and priestesses have existed since the earliest of times and in the simplest societies. They exist in all or some branches of Judaism, Christianity, Shintoism, Hinduism and many other religions. A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deity(s).
In the verse cited above, priests became disciples when:
1. The word of God increased. – By that, the most natural interpretation would suggest that the message of hope, the Gospel, or the doctrine of the apostles became amplified by the sheer number of people proclaiming it. Later in Acts 12:24, this notion is repeated in this way, “But the word of God continued to increase and spread.”
2. The number of Disciples multiplied. – It wasn’t simply that the story of Jesus was becoming more familiar with the people, but that the people were becoming the story of Jesus himself. The gospel as a message or even a person (Christ) can not multiply. It can become better known, wider in reach, or even greater in its impact, but the Gospel remains numerically unchanged. It’s only when disciples make disciples that “multiplication” occurs.
3. Obedience was realized. – Jesus said, “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” Matthew 28:20 NLT It wasn’t the simple passing on of data or even the intellectual assent to the message of the gospel that made a disciple, it was the commencement of obedience which signified the change from non-disciple to disciple, or in this case, priest to disciple. This obedience was “to the faith.” The Faith here, being understood as the gospel and its requirements. In other words, the new “Christian Religion.”
These former priests willingly forfeited their mediatory priesthood, because disciples of Christ only have one mediator between God and men, and that’s Christ himself. 1 Timothy 2:5 Oddly enough, they were made priests again as any disciple of Jesus is. Yes, if you are a disciple of Christ, you’re a priest.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
A few questions:
How was a disciple of Christ identified post resurrection?
Should we approach modern day priests and ask them if they are disciples of Christ?
Is it possible to be a disciple of Christ without obedience?