[He] was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
The priesthood of Christ not only presents us with a sympathetic mediator, with a minister of mercy, but makes possible a new sort of holiness, a different kind of sanctification then we might imagine.
In approaching this Great High Priest, I come nearer to him when I am more deeply in touch with my woundedness, with my failure and ongoing openness to failure. Sanctification differs from a workout in the gym which produces greater and greater strength. Rather, I becomes the bruised reed, the smoldering wick which I indeed am.
For I am poor and needy (Psalm 40:17).
A sign of Christian sanctification is that when we behold our brother in sin, stumbling and stuck, we do not lay heavy burdens upon him, but help lift these burdens. How do we do this?
We do this through prayer. We do this through encouragement and even correction. But perhaps our priesthood is most powerfully embodied in our own woundedness–in baring our weakness, our failure, and brokeness before them.
We do best not in simply displaying wisdom, in charting a course correction, but in saying yes, I know what it is like to be there; I have been stuck, still get stuck, and need help. I see you and see myself in you and I am not ashamed.
Any sanctification which alienates us from this kind of shared failure and complicity in sin is incomplete.
My priesthood is exemplified in this baring of my wounds before my brother when he is in need. In doing so, I bare myself before the Great High Priest who is not without mercy and even understanding. Until this ministry is discovered, we practice not Christian charity, but some form of self-help or moral bootstrapping.
In the priesthood of Christ, I become human in all the glory and gravity of human existence here. Only in this acceptance of my humanity do I find my brother and become his brother, and he mine.
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted (Galatians 6:1).