My mom is a wonderful homemaker. While I was growing up, she always made sure there were nutritious meals on the table and that our home was clean and beautiful. When my sisters and I were young, she made each of us our own quilt. Her bed also was covered in a beautiful quilt that she took excellent care of. In fact, my mother took such good care of her quilt that no one was permitted to lay, or even sit on it! As a result, this bed covering came to be known as “The Sacred Quilt.” Although it was said jokingly, the quilt was in the truest sense of the word holy. Holy, literally means “set apart” for a person and purpose. My mother’s quilt had the purpose of covering her bed and looking beautiful while doing so. Using that quilt for any other purpose, mistreating it, or hindering it from fulfilling its purpose was simply not acceptable.
If we look back in the pages of the Old Testament, we can see that our Heavenly Father too, is rather particular about His dwelling place. When He desired to dwell in the midst of the Israelites, He gave them very precise details about how the tabernacle was to be constructed and arranged. He was specific about the food that would be presented, and how those in His tabernacle would be dressed. In Exodus 28, we can read that the high priest was to be dressed in the finest linen and adorned with gold and beautiful gemstones, and in verses 36 through 38 there is a description of the turban he was to wear upon his head:
“And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, Holiness To The Lord. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead...”
Those who copied and translated the Scriptures replaced our God’s proper name “YHWH” with the title “LORD.” The plaque that Aaron, the high priest, was to always wear on his forehead declared that he was “set apart for YHWH.” Our God placed His name on the forehead of His servant.
I was recently helping my children prepare their school supplies. Everything was to be labeled with their names, and some items were also to be labeled with a subject. My daughter’s folder is marked with her name to tell everyone who might see it that it belongs to her, and it is marked with a subject to remind her of what it is for. Every day when Aaron, the high priest, placed his turban on his head, he was given a reminder that his life was set apart for the purposes of YHWH. Every day that the Israelites saw the high priest they were reminded of the same thing. I would imagine this would invoke a feeling in all of them that misusing this position or showing disrespect to it, was simply not acceptable.
We know that Jesus is our perfect High Priest. His entire time walking this earth was dedicated to nothing but bringing esteem to YHWH by showing love and offering Himself as a saving sacrifice on our behalf. Because Jesus perfectly fulfilled the roles of High Priest and Sacrifice, we now can have access directly to God. According to 1 Peter 2:9 we are now “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” Because of Jesus, we are priests, set apart for the purpose of proclaiming His praises! We are His own and according to Revelation 22:3-4 when Jesus returns “…His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” I am not sure if this inscription is symbolic or literal, but imagine for a moment that we all had “set apart for Jesus” on our foreheads now. Would it make a difference in how we see ourselves, and how we value and treat each other? It should! All Christians have been set apart for Jesus’ esteem. They all fulfill this mission in various ways, but they are all treasured in His sight and He expects all of us, as members of His household, to treat each other as such.
We are commanded in Scripture to accept one another as Christ accepted us (Romans 15:7) and to love one another as Christ loved us (John 13:34). Every. Single. Christian. Regardless of denomination, background, gender, race, financial bracket, education, and even personal hygiene - we are to accept and love as Jesus did. You might argue that this is humanly impossible – and you would be correct. It is humanly impossible for us, on our own, to love like Jesus did. The good news is that what is impossible with man, is possible with God (Luke 18:27), and He has placed His Holy Spirit to dwell within us to enable us to love each other. It is through this 'they-could-never-love-each-other-on-their-own-like-that' love that the world will know that we belong to Jesus. This is how we bring Him esteem.
Let it be our prayer that the Lord would enable us to see each other as belonging to and dearly valued by Jesus. Let’s make it our intention not to hinder each other, but to encourage each other to fulfill the purpose for which they have been set apart by YHWH and to treat them as Jesus’ precious treasures – because that is precisely what they are!