And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, – Hebrews 1:3
I said yesterday that most days this is my favorite verse in all of scripture. But why?
In just eight words, the writer gives me a Christology, an understanding of Jesus. It covers my core theological belief. Clear up the pronouns and this is what you get: Jesus is the exact representation of God’s nature.
Jesus is God’s will.
Look at Jesus and see God’s heart for every situation imaginable.
Much time is wasted either trying to find God’s will or assigning random life or natural events to the will of God. But there is a really simple test. Compare it to Jesus.
I’m glad you asked.
(Heard from a pew a few rows back…hypotheically of course)
My something-in-law just lost her battle with cancer. I’m so glad to know God’s in control and this was according to His plan. She learned so much from this ordeal and so did I.
Warning – the following paragraph might make you mad. Please forgive me.
God, in control, gave your something-in-law cancer so that she could learn some stuff and then die and go to heaven? Aside from the obvious question that pops into my mind, (Why not kill her up front and teach her in person?) when did God’s express image ever do such a thing?
When the disciples said to Jesus, “Teach us to pray,” Jesus gave them a prayer, not a tumor. He could have said–“Here’s some cancer–you’ll sure pray now.” NO! Not Jesus. That’s not the way Jesus did things, and therefore CANNOT be the way God does things.
If you have a God who kills, steals and destroys, you are worshipping the wrong guy. The thief comes to do all that–never the Good Shepherd.
Here’s another one. The insurance company won’t pay a claim on a home ruined by a tornado. They call it an act of God. (Maybe they don’t use that phrase anymore, but we still think that way.) When Jesus told the storm to shut-up out on the lake, was He undermining the will of God?
It kind of makes that “God is in control” thing a little fuzzy.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that God is in control of the story arc of history. I don’t think man or devil could have stopped Jesus from walking that road to the cross.
But are there things in our lives that Jesus would have put a stop to, if He were here, that you just let ride?
News flash–He is here! Moreover, He gave you the power, the authority and the example to deal with the thing yourself.
This is a big deal.
Circumstances and conditions oppress many in the body of Christ. This misunderstanding about God’s will ransacks the church. It affects all aspects of our lives. Sickness and disease rob us of so many loved ones. Poverty and lack keep us from walking in generosity like our Father, the giver of all good gifts. Guilt and shame hold us back from sharing our faith and preaching the good news. In fact, our misconceptions about what God is like makes it hard for us to believe it really is good news. So we remain silent, trapped in religion, with no concept of a New Covenant that is frankly, better than the Garden of Eden.
OK – enough for one day. The New Covenant is one of our main themes for Hebrews, so we’ll have time to dig in deeper in future days.
I’ll be back soon with more, and I’ll still be in verses 3 so don’t turn the page just yet.
BTW–I tagged this post with a little geek speak if you’re interested. (See below)
See you soon.
If you’ve missed anything – check out the Hebrews page to get caught up.
I wanted to tackle the Greek word for exact today. You know how preachers do that “In the Greek, all means all” or “always means always” or “whosoever…”
So I was going to pull one of those, (see post title) but imagine my surprise when I found that exact is not a separate Greek word in this text. In English, it’s an adjective telling us what kind of representation. But in Greek, one word (charaktēr) translates to “exact representation” or “express image” as it says in the KJV.
Jesus is the charaktēr of the Father.
Ok – done geeking for the moment.