Contrary to academia, Luke does present Jesus as a priest. Augustine had noted the sacerdotal concerns of Luke but modern scholarship has not investigated this issue until recently. The most notable example is the Priestly Blessing conferred by the Lucan Jesus at the Ascension. Although Luke did not provide the words because he expects that Theophilus knows the words, he was probably alluding to Numbers 6:22-27 where we can read:
And Yahweh spoke to Moses saying: “Speak to Aaron and to his sons saying: ‘Thus you shall pronounce the blessing on the community of
“May Yahweh bless you and guard you. May Yahweh cause his face to shine on you and be gracious to you. May Yahweh raise his face to you, and establish peace for you.”’
And they will place my name on the community of
Luke relies upon the knowledge of Theophilus of the LXX.[i] In 11.20, Jesus uses the phrase, “the finger of God.”[ii] Luke mentions the division of Abijah and the daughters of Aaron and various other examples without any explanation of the priestly regulations of the Torah such as ritual impurity from contact with a corpse[iii], the healing of a leper and circumcision on the eighth day.
Protestants are familiar with the blessing because it was that troublesome monk from
One of the functions of the priests in the Old Testament was to bless the people in God’s name. The Priestly Blessing of Numbers 6:22-26 is one of the few examples in the Hebrew Bible of a text intended for liturgical use in the Temple. The Scriptural benediction consists of three short verses, comprising of 15 Hebrew words in all, which was ordained to be recited only by the priests. This priest calls down divine favor on the community so that they may enjoy the benefits of Yahweh's patronage. It is Yahweh who bestows these powers of life and protection, not the priest. The priest acts as the mediator of grace; and this takes place in a liturgical setting.
Notable is the threefold repetition of ‘the Lord’ in the threefold blessing. It is the name by which God was known by his people
This is a work in progress.
[i] S. John Roth, The Blind, the Lame and the Poor: Character Types in Luke-Acts, (
[ii] Woods, Edward J., The 'finger of God' and pneumatology in Luke-Acts, (
[iii] The Parable of the Good Samaritan.