This week's Torah portion opens with the curious ritual concerning a red heifer. this cow which has never borne a yoke, was to be taken outside the camp, slaughtered, it's blood sprinkled toward the Mishkan, and it's remains burned along with cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet. Then its ashes were to be preserved and added to water for the cleansing of anyone coming in contact with the dead or with a grave. Though the reasons for this form of cleansing are shrouded in mystery, there is one aspect that sheds light on the role of each believer in the community of Messiah Yeshua.
In B'midbar 19:18-19, we learn that the person administering the sprinkling of the water for purification on behalf of those who have been rendered unclean by the dead was to be a clean person. Interestingly, the command is not that the priest must cleanse the unclean, but a clean person. This clean person does not need any special lineage, high status, or notable standing in his community. The only requirement is that he be pure from any ritual contamination. In one sense, this simple requirement shows G-d's grace in that a priest is not needed to administer cleansing every time someone passes from this life. Needless to say, there would never be enough priests to fill such a demand. In another sense, however, this shows one instance where one's cleansing is dependent on a brother. This reminds me of some instructions Scripture gives to each of us as believers.
One lesson B'midbar 19 teaches us is that it is not incumbent on our rabbi, pastor, congregational leader, or elders to do absolutely everything in the messianic community while the rest of us sit back and do nothing. Notice again that the priests were not called to cleanse every person who had come in contact with the dead. A brother could administer the water of purification, leaving the priests free to attend to the duties HaShem had called them to do. So it is with us in Messiah. If we see a brother or sister falling into sin, let us who are more mature help that brother or sister extract themselves from that pitfall; thus, administering the water of cleansing, as it were. On the same token, let us examine our lives before attempting such an exercise, making sure we are clean as the person administrating the ashes of the red heifer had to be clean. It is true we each have differing spiritual gifts and callings from G-d, but there are certain responsibilities for which we are all accountable, and this is one of them. As it is written: "Brothers, suppose someone is caught doing something wrong. You who have the Spirit should set him right, but in a spirit of humility, keeping an eye on yourselves so that you won't be tempted too. Bear one another's burdens - in this way you will be fulfilling the Torah's true meaning, which the Messiah upholds." (Galatians 6:1-2)