google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html Highlights in Hebrews 1
Highlights in Hebrews

Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)

Part 1 - Hebrews 1:3
Jesus: the image of God

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

The word ‘better’ is oft-en seen as dominant in the book of Hebrews (I call it a book because it does not read like a letter or epistle. It is more like a treatise, but that is an unduly posh word!). But it is not the subject of this wonderful book; that is Jesus. The writer (no one knows who that was) starts his thesis with the statement that Jesus was ‘the exact representation of his being’. The ‘his’ is God. Like all good Christian thinking, writing and preaching everything starts with God.

One problem they had in those days was that they had not worked out how to advertise! They had no billboards lining the streets, no newspapers printed every day, no televisions to annoy us with their perpetual breaks for adverts, really very few opportunities to say what they were good at. Only the Emperor had an opportunity and that was with the coins. Everyone knew what the current emperor looked like because his image had been stamped on every coin. The coin was made of a comparatively soft metal. The stamp was made of very hard metal so that it could be pushed down under pressure on the face of the coin and thus you had the face of the emperor. This was what Jesus referred to in Matthew 22: 18 - 21 when he said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Which rather caught them out because they were admitting that they had the picture of an idol in whatever they used in place of pockets.

The primary reference of the exact representation has to be to the character and actions of Jesus. He was supremely oriented to other people. He cared for them, he healed them; he showed great grace and mercy towards them. He set a completely new standard of human behaviour focused on love. That is what God was, and is, like. Most paintings that attempt to show God get it completely wrong. They portray a big old white man with a long beard looking very stern and judgmental. No! If we want to know what God is like we have to look at Jesus because if he is the exact representation of God that has to be what God is like: Jesus, probably a small brown man looking rather scruffy and dirty because he walked so many miles on dusty tracks is the nearest we can get to what God looked like. But we can get much closer in the non-visual things that matter so much more. He was a God of love indeed he was Love. So all those lovely things that Jesus did as he walked this earth reflect the personality of God himself.

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