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You watch out for one another as a priest

Posted by on Aug 19, 2011 in discipleship, scripture | Comments Off

You watch out for one another as a priest

In the first post of this series taken from Hebrews 10:19-25, I said that those of us who are in Christ have now been ordained as a priest with Jesus Christ as our great (better than high) priest. The first part of the passage, Hebrews 10:19-21, reminds us of what we have in Jesus Christ: 1) a way into the presence of God through Christ himself, and 2) Jesus Christ as our great priest.

Because we have these things, we should respond in three ways: 1) Draw near to God, 2) Hold fast to the confession, and 3) Consider one another. This post focuses on the second response (Hold fast to the confessions) taken from Hebrews 10:24-25:

And let us consider one another to stir up love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrew 10:24-25)

There are two terms related to “worship” in the New Testament. The first one refers to an attitude or position of bowing down in submission before God. The second one relates to serving others. (This is the type of “worship” referred to in Romans 12:1.) This passage (Hebrews 10:24-25) points to that second type of “worship/service” as a priest of God in Jesus Christ.

The command to “consider one another” refers to looking intently into one another’s lives. It is used in Acts 27:39 to describe how sailors in the middle of a storm studied (“considered”/”looked at”) the shore in order to find a safe harbor. The verb does not simply mean to think about (as the English term “consider” could mean), but it’s a intent searching and focus.

For example, notice how the command “consider” is used in this passage in Hebrews:

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession… (Hebrews 3:1)

There is a purpose for our considering one another. We do not consider one another just to do it. Instead, we seek to stir up (or provoke) love and good works in one another. Thus, our “worship/service” produces “worship/service” in others. (Our work as a priest encourages others to do their work as a priest also.)

The final part of that passage (Hebrews 10:25) is unfortunately often used to beat people over the head to “attend church”. But, that passage has very little to do with “attending church” as it is often commanded today.

Instead, it is quite simple. Once we have considered one another and are ready to stir up love and good works among one another, we cannot do that if we never get together with one another. So, we must get together so that we can encourage one another. This is not about gathering together so we can get taught. It’s about gathering together in such a way that we can encourage one another.

Then… the author ends with an urgency. There will be a day when our great priest (Jesus Christ) returns. At that point, our priestly work on this earth will end. Our ability to stir up others to love and good works (even those who have not begun to follow Jesus yet) will cease. So, we serve him by serving others now, and even more as time draws to a close… which happens every year, every month, every week, every day, every hour.

In Christ, we have a direct path to God. We have a high priest that is better than all other high priest. Because of these things, we respond by drawing near to God, by holding fast to Jesus Christ, and by watching one another carefully so we can help one another to “let our lights shine before men.” This is our work as a priest of the new covenant.