“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3, ESV)
When I was a young boy, my grandmother started me in collecting coins. She bought me a book with little holes in it the size of a penny with dates for each hole. The idea was to find the penny with the appropriate date and put it in the hole. She had a jar full of pennies and I went through each one examining them to fill in the book.
The pennies at that time had an impression of Abraham Lincoln on the face side. It was a representation of the president. The penny was made in a press in which a piece of metal was struck on an engraved die that produced the embossed image on the metal coin.
In the introduction to the book of Hebrews, the writer describes Jesus as “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” The word for “exact imprint” is the Greek charakter, which refers to a stamped impression. In biblical days, just as today, coins were struck by a die to make an exact impression. As the writer used this word to describe Jesus, the exact imprint does not refer to a physical likeness but rather the perfectly exact replication of God’s nature. The author of Hebrews is stating that Jesus is fully God.
John affirmed this truth stating that Jesus is the logos, the word that was with God and was God (John 1:1). He is the word that became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). The word logos, refers to that which is spoken. Yet in the context of John 1:1, “the word was God,” means that Jesus is the complete revelation of God to us. The Old Testament revelation was awesome as it was from God, but in Jesus we have the fullness of God revealed. “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.”
To emphasize His deity, the author gives us some additional points. Jesus is Omnipotent, upholding the universe by the word of His power. Paul wrote that in Christ all things hold together (Col 1:17). The writer of Hebrews also states that Jesus made cleansing from sin and now is seated at the right hand of God, the most privileged position. Jesus is God, the second person of the Trinity, God the Son.
Yesterday I wrote about the words of Jesus. However, His words are just part of the revelation. God has spoken to us through Him, not just in words, but through His life. Every discourse, every action, in the expressions of His heart, we see and understand God. In Him we see the heart of God, His ways and purposes. We grasp in greater detail His great promises and His grace. He spoke of all things and demonstrated godliness.
The writer of Hebrews is communicating to the Jewish audience that their Messiah is not an ordinary man, but fully God and fully man. He wanted them to understand the supreme importance of grasping the complete message communicated through God’s Son. As I mentioned yesterday, it behooves us to study the life and teachings of Jesus. It is through this study that we will come to more fully understand the ways and purposes of God.