As one of the five senses, your eyes take in a lot of information. We look at a lot of things on a daily basis, but there’s one person we should be looking at differently to the rest (in microscopic detail if possible).
Looking is Contextual
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Consider the following verses:
- “There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome.” (Mark 15:40)
- “And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36)
- “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)
In English, we would normally take ‘looking’ at face value to mean someone was looking at something. However, the Greek word varies depending on context. Mark 15:40 uses the word theoreo, which means “to be a spectator” (in this instance both women are spectators at the crucifixion of Jesus). In contrast, John 1:36 refers to emblepo which means to “observe fixedly” or “discern clearly.” Lastly, prosdechomai in Titus 2:13 speaks of looking in terms of “awaiting.” A different word for looking is also used in each of these verses: Luke 9:16, Acts 6:15, and Hebrews 12:15.
In Hebrews 12:2, the writer uses the word aphorao as he admonishes us to look at Christ. This is the only verse where aphorao is used, and it means “consider attentively.” Given the variety of words for ‘looking’ in Greek, the writer’s use of aphorao is clearly intentional. I highlight this because attentiveness by its very nature means you are paying close attention to something or someone. The way you look at Christ should be different to the way you look at anyone else. The exclusive use of aphorao should remind you that there is no one else you have been asked to consider attentively apart from Christ. Dare I say, if you aren’t considering Him attentively, then why is your attention devoted to someone else?
Perhaps I haven’t made my point clear, so allow me to clarify further. In Hebrews 12:2, the writer could have said ‘observe fixedly (emblepo), Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…’ or ‘awaiting (prosdechomai) the coming of Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…’
Both emblepo and prosdechomai refer to looking, but the use of aphorao is important because it tells you how to look.
Attentiveness is Salvational
Have you ever been happy that you knew the answer to a question a teacher asked you because they thought you weren’t paying attention? Life isn’t like that. Your spirituality isn’t like that. You can’t afford to consider Jesus inattentively and hope to make it into heaven. Attentiveness can’t be faked.
Developing your character is a full time job.
That’s why anyone, or anything, that steals your devotion from Jesus occupies a place they aren’t supposed to. Only He can help you to develop your character.
Inevitably, as a romantic relationship develops you’ll spend more time with that person, and start to pay them more attention. Eventually you’ll probably know them better than anyone else. However, always remember that your relationship has three individuals (God, you, and your significant other). As I’ve mentioned previously, you love your partner best by loving God the most. Looking attentively doesn’t happen overnight but I pray you encourage one another to do so, lest you break the first commandment (Exodus 20:3).