This started as a facebook status, but I kept thinking of things to add.
Revelation 1:5-6: To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The Greek word for "made" in verse 6 is poieo, meaning (among other things), "to produce, bear, shoot forth." Jesus wasn't just using pretty language when He told the disciples that He was the Vine and they were the branches, grafted into Himself (John 15:1-8) or when He told Nicodemus that we must be born again (John 3:3-8). He labored unto death, even as a new mother goes into labor, to give birth to -- what? A royal race of kings and priests unto His Father.
"Kings" here is the Greek word basileus and means "leader of the people, prince, commander, lord of the land." We are leaders in our service and in our humility. Jesus taught the disciples this in the same context in which He told them He was the true Vine, by washing their feet (John 13:3-17), and then saying, "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet."
As kings, we are also called to be commanders in our intercession. The prayers of a man whom God has made righteous is powerful and effective (James 5:15-16). However, intercession is not simply a kingly function; it is the calling of a priest as well. Hebrews tells us that Jesus received an unchangeable priesthood ("unchangeable" here being the Greek word aparabatos meaning "not liable to pass to a successor" -- it's His forever), and as a function of that priesthood He is constantly interceding for us (Hebrews 7:23-25).
"Priests" in Revelation 1:6 is the Greek word hiereus and means "one who offers sacrifices and in general in busied with sacred rites." We know that Jesus made an eternal sacrifice when He offered His own blood for our salvation (Hebrews 9:11-28); however, to function as priests, we must still offer sacrifices to the Lord. Our sacrifices are our bodies (Romans 12:1-2) and our praise, the fruit of our lips (Hebrews 13:15-16).
Jesus did not endure the cross so that we could live our lives unto ourselves. He gave Himself up to an excruciating death for a specific purpose--to give His holy, spiritual DNA to us so that we might be a chose, royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). As a result, we overcome by His blood and by the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). His blood births us into an entirely new bloodline, making us trees of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3) that can bring forth the fruit of the Spirit.