Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Greatness of the Son (Hebrews 1:1-4)

"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" (Hebrews 1:3).

Hebrews 1:2–3 list seven excellencies of the Son. We looked at two on Monday: (1) the Son is the heir of all things God has made, and (2) the Son made the universe in the beginning.

Third, Hebrews 1:3 says that the Son is the radiance of God’s glory. Glory is the visible manifestation of God’s own essence. Glory is what shines forth from God. Here the idea is that the Son is the shining that comes from the Father. God cannot help but be glorious, and so He inevitably shines forth. That eternal shining is the Son of God. Unlike the shining of the created things, however, God shining is a second person.

Fourth, the Son is the exact representation of God’s being. Human beings are the created images of God, but the Son is an exact, uncreated image of God the Father. Being fully God, the Son is an absolutely authentic representation of God’s being. Thus, there cannot be any higher authority than words spoken by the Son. There is, in a sense, no need for us to see the Father because the Son perfectly represents Him.

Fifth, the Son sustains all things by His powerful Word. The Son is the Father’s eternal Word, and that uncreated Word aspect of the Son knits the created universe together.

Sixth, the Son has provided purification for sins. This will be a major theme in Hebrews. In the Levitical law, the specific idea of impurity was this: Sin caused impurity, and impurity put a barrier between the sinner and God. God would not allow anyone to draw near to Him until he had been cleansed of impurity. The Son has taken away impurity once and for all, removed the barrier, and given us access to God.

Seventh, the Son has been enthroned at the right hand of the heavenly Majesty. His entrance to the throne is proof that the barrier caused by impurity has been removed.

These seven glories are a literary structure. One and seven are linked, the Son as Heir and King; two and six are linked, the Son as Creator and Recreator (Purifier); three and five are linked, the Son as the Glory-radiance of God that sustains all. Central is number four: the Son as exact copy of the Father.

Copy and memorize the seven wonders of the Son. Reflect on the arrangement of these seven descriptive phrases. Imagine the radiance of God’s glory pervading and sustaining the universe. Consider how the central phrase relates to the two outermost phrases. This will help you see why God so structured this passage.