The radiance of God's glory!


And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
(Hebrews 1:3 NASB)



Who was Jesus? People are still asking that question today. The writer to the Hebrews wrote a very lengthy sentence (verses 1-4) trying to describe who Jesus was. This portion of that explanation brings us to the core of understanding the very nature of Jesus Christ -- the tiny babe whose coming be celebrate this month. Jesus, the tiny baby, was God! God's glory and radiance cannot be separated, they are one and the same. The early church understood this as describing the sun, and the light which shone from the sun. They were so connected to one another that you could not have one without the other. The same is true for the Father and the Son -- The Son is the radiance of the glory of the Father. You cannot separate the two for they have existed together forever. And Jesus is yes, the exact representation of the nature of the Father. The English language is too weak here, because a representative makes it somehow sound like something less than the original, which here is not the case. He is made of the same stuff -- he is exactly the same nature as the Father, and this differs from anything that we, as humans are made of. Only the nature of God can be found in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Because Jesus is the radiance of the God's glory, eternally united with the Father and is made of the "stuff" of God, he has the power to uphold all things. Why? Because he was creatively active from the very beginning of time. That is why the power of creation is the very power that existed in that little baby who was able to come to earth and provide for the purification of our sins. The language here lets us know that he did this, he completed the task; it is done! Therefore he can now sit at the right hand of the Father. And all of this he has done out of his love for you and for me. Jesus wanted his creation to be in fellowship with God, and he took a "whatever it takes" attitude toward humanity. The very radiance of God's glory was willing to come to this earth to provide a way for all of humanity to be saved.



We tend to gloss over the story of Jesus, who he was, and what he did. It's in moments like this, when I really stop to ponder who he was and what he gave up for me that I am overwhelmed. Do I really appreciate all that Christ did for me? Do I understand the salvation that is at hand?

This morning I'm thinking about my friend Christina. Christina delivered the newspaper to my home in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She figured out that we had a rather crazy dog that liked to go outside and pick up the paper every morning and bring it in to us. However, we had an invisible fence. If the newspaper was too far down the driveway our dog would sit out there and bark and until one of us came and moved the paper a little closer to her so that she could proudly carry it into the house for us. Christina, or Tina, as we came to know her, tried to always make sure the paper was up high enough for Zoey to be able to reach. One day Tina and her son Kevin showed up at our church. She had been up and down spiritually through the years but now really wanted to settle things, to get things right with God. She did, and she began to do all that she could to be the best mom to her kids and walk the right path in life. It wasn't easy because she was a single mom with many issues to overcome. She wasn't perfect, but she was seeking God and his leadership in her life. Her facebook posts reflected her desire to know God. She sent me forwards on e-mail about the Lord. I knew she was in love with him. She and Kevin began singing in the Christmas program at church and she became a regular member of the group I taught on Sunday mornings. Every morning in Fort Wayne I was blessed by Tina's ministry of the newspaper at my home. She prayed for the whole community as she delivered her papers.

Yesterday, very suddenly, Tina went home to be with the Lord. She had been at church on Sunday where Kevin sang in the Christmas program. Tina had not been well and was unable to sing this year, but she was there. Today my friend Tina is seeing the very radiance of God's glory. Today all things have been brought to completion in her life because of the work of Christ. There is no more pain. There are no more struggles. She is in the presence of the one who is sitting at the right hand of God, the Father. Why? Because she was obedient and listened when God was calling her -- and he brought her to the very Christ of Christmas.

Today we are all invited to enjoy being in the presence of the radiance of God's glory. Even while we are here on this earth we may walk in nearness to him. Just as we enjoy laying in the sun on a warm spring day, enjoying the radiance of the sun, we should enjoy the radiance of God's glory every single day of our lives here on this earth. Then, there will come a day when we, just like Tina, will step from this life to the next and we will experience the glory of the presence of God at another level, but for now, let us enjoy the foretaste of the things to come. Jesus is coming! May we enjoy the radiance of the very glory of God.



Lord, thank you for allowing Tina to be a part of my life and touching me. Thank you for your coming and that I can enjoy your presence today. Amen.


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