Thursday, July 4, 2013
The Exact Imprint and Reflection of the Glory
Heb. 1:3 He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
The writer to the Hebrews wanted to make it abundantly clear who Jesus was and therefore this epistle begins with this beautiful explanation. Jesus is the exact imprint of God. Jesus IS God in the flesh. If we want to know what God looks like and acts like as a human being -- we see him in Jesus Christ and, as a human, Christ also reflects the very glory of God. The glory of God represents the presence of God. Therefore not only is Christ the exact imprint of God, but the presence of God is reflected in him and he is powerful enough that it is Jesus who sustains all things. It is this Jesus who became human flesh who created a pathway for all of human to be purified, or to be restored into the image of God, also bearing the reflection of God's glory. Now Jesus is at the right hand of the Majesty, ever interceding for you and for me.
The implications of the exact imprint and reflection of the glory for humanity are huge. Christ assumed human flesh and in doing so, he healed human flesh. He set right the things that had gone wrong. Humanity was created to be a reflection of the likeness of God. Jesus in human flesh is the exact likeness or image of God, and now we are to be a reflection of him in this world and when we reflect him, people see Jesus, but they also see the glory of God.
Some people have asked me about the picture associated with my devotional blog. It is a picture of a woman searching for her lost coin. In the 4th century the Cappadocian Fathers spoke a great deal about the ability of humanity to be restored in the image of God. They believed that in sinning humanity had lost the reflection, but that the potential still remained in every single person. No human was so lost that the capacity to reflect God was destroyed. They likened the story of the lost coin to the loss of the image within humanity. The coin is somewhere in the house. The ability to reflect God is still within us somewhere. The woman had to search the house. We must be willing to search our own hearts. The woman knew that this was a most precious possession and so she searched intently and even asked others to help her -- this was important. The loss of the image in humanity is so great that it ought to be the passion of our hearts -- that which is lost must be found! The coin was found -- probably covered over by some of the dirt in a corner somewhere. The image of God can be restored but it may be dirty and beaten up the lifestyle we have led and the sins we have encountered. The coin is cleaned up and is beautiful and shiny again and the woman and her friends rejoice because that which was lost has now been found. After the image is restored then it is cleaned up by the power of the One who "sustains all things by this powerful word." And when we are shiny and new and facing his direction, then we become a reflection of the exact imprint and of the glory of God. Now we are God's holy people.
Christ's sacrifice has provided the potential for everyone who seeks his face to be a reflection of Jesus to the world. I can't imagine what the world would be like if everyone who calls themselves a "Christian" would truly seek to be a reflection of Christ. Most of the world could have a personal encounter with Jesus today if only his followers would seek to be a reflection of him. We are called to be a reflection of the image of God and Jesus is THE image. May this be the passion and desire of all our hearts.
Lord, please help me to seek your face today so that I may reflect you to the world around me. Amen.