“…the radiance of God’s glory…” Hebrews 1:3
The writer of Hebrews had a purpose in the design and construction of the letter to Jews under Roman law: to communicate the love of God as shown in the person of Jesus Christ, who is described as the promised Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world. The writer is reaching out to Jewish Christians at the time to encourage their faith in Christ by verifying Christ’s authenticity, as well as strengthening their resolve in the midst of persecution from both Romans and Jews.
Evidences of Christ’s pre-existence is provided in the salutation, from which we glean these five words describing Jesus: “…the radiance of God’s glory…”. In fact, the author attributes Jesus as the Creator of all things, as well as the voice of God – recognizing Him as God’s Son. (v.2) As any son may show his genetic characteristics and be recognizable by the community in his likeness to his parents, so Jesus – as God’s Son, reflects the radiance of God’s glory, and His attributes of supremacy and wisdom.
The letter’s author then began a lengthy theological lesson on the doctrine of Christ’s ‘son-ship’, quoting from a barrage of Old Testament literature: Psalm 2:7; 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 17:13; Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 104; Psalm 45:6-7; Psalm 102:25-27; Psalm 110:1. I share all this with you to show the writer was very familiar with both the sacred writings and how to properly apply them theologically and historically. By using the sacred texts the Jews were familiar with, the writer bridges a credibility gap - hepefully, to capture their attention in communicating the good news of the Messiah's reality and validity.
As I pondered on these words, there came a realization for application in my life each day: Just as Christ is the radiance of God’s glory, so we are the radiance of Christ’s glory. This ‘radiance’ is evidenced by our love for each other (read John 13:34-35); by the fruit of God’s Spirit at work in our behavior patterns (read Galatians 5:22-23); by embracing His great commission through intentional efforts at making disciples (read Matthew 28:19-20); and by heaven’s own testimony – namely: Christ in each of us being the hope of heaven (read Colossians 1:27).
How I shudder at such! How fearfully and wonderfully we are made… and are being remade into His image… an incorruptible model of humanity after His likeness! It is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me (read Galatians 2:19-21)!
Lord reveal these evidences in our lives to us that we may radiate Your glory.
Steve (John 3:30)