“Provoke One Another”
In the book of Hebrews, the author is writing to a group of Jews that are considering
turning from their faith in Jesus and going back to Judaism. Throughout the book, the writer
demonstrates that all of the Old Testament is pointing to Jesus and that all things are fulfilled in
In Hebrews 10:19 the writer transitions to explain how we should respond in light of
everything that Jesus has done on our behalf. In the Old Testament times, only the priests were
allowed to enter into the holy realm of the temple at certain times of the year. They
did this with precision and a strong sense of fear and trembling because they knew that the
glory of God would strike them down if it was not done properly. In Hebrews 10:19-21 the
author explains that now we are able to draw near to God in his holy presence with confidence
because Jesus has gone before us and prepared the way by his sacrificial death.
In light of this reality, the writer gives three exhortations that are essential for all
Christians. Hebrews 10:22 says, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Because of Jesus we are able to draw near to God with faith and boldness knowing that we
stand before God with the righteousness of Christ on us.
The writer continues in verse 23 saying, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith
without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.” Those who have truly been saved will
persevere in their faith until the end because our salvation is established and carried out by the
faithfulness of God.
Finally, in verse 24 and 25 the writer says, “And let us consider one another to provoke
unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the
manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day
approaching.” Christians are exhorted to constantly think about how they can push each other
on in love and good works in the time that they are gathered together. The word that is
translated “provoke” is typically used in a negative connotation and here it is used to draw
attention to the message being communicated. Think about a campfire that is burning out and
all you see is smoldering coals. In order to get a flame again you have to prod the coals to get
them stirred up. The same is with fellow Christians. We are to provoke, encourage, or stir each
other up and direct each other towards love, good works, and ultimately Christ.
This is why it is so important for Christians join together as a church. We should not just
come and leave but rather we should take time to think about how we invest our lives in each
other and point each other toward Jesus. For Christians it is crucial that we draw near to God,
persevere in our faith, and provoke one another in love and good works as the body of Christ.