He (Jesus) 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)
Sometimes the question is proposed concerning the efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ: “How can one man’s sacrifice cover the sins of every man and woman who ever lived? That’s impossible.”
And yes, if it was a mere man who sacrificed, it would indeed be an impossible task for his blood to effectively cover the sins of many worldwide.
But Scripture doesn’t count Jesus Christ as just any Tom, Dick, or Josephus.
After claiming Jesus the Final Prophet, or the final Living Word through His life and ministry (Hebrews 1:1-2), the author of Hebrews intimates what manner of man this Lord of glory is:
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and exact imprint of His nature” (Heb 1:3)
He is Radiance of the Father’s Glory. You want know the glory of God? You want to see the face of God? Look unto Jesus (2 Cor. 4:4,6) He is the manifest radiance –streaming out of Him-of God. When I say my wife is radiant, people know what I mean. I am speaking about her physical beauty, but not just her outward beauty; there is an inward character that makes her whole being “radiant” to me.
Christ is God’s manifest beauty, His light.
Christ is no mere mortal, He is the definitive and full representation of Yahweh. The wording “exact imprint” is from the Greek word “charakter,” meaning the very essence of God. The Father and Son share identity. And it is the Son who “upholds all thing by His word.” Every molecule in our body and every law in the universe is kept, preserved, and sustained by the current word of this Christ. Christ is the only reason our bodies don’t collapse like accordions under the weight of gravity.
The value and glory of the son of God (the universe sustainer) makes him laying down His life so much greater.
Verse 2 also claims He created all things. Jesus has creation rights over the whole natural world. And He doesn’t sit back idly like a Deistic unaffected clock maker. He created and then He entered into that creation. Jesus Christ wrote the screenplay. Then He inexplicably wrote Himself into the screenplay. He even outlined and reserved the most tragic excruciating role for Himself (Isaiah 53).
God is not an absentee Father or busy Taskmaker, He burns with the same passions Jesus burns with in the Gospels. No wonder Jesus says “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” (John 10)
Jesus is a chip off the old block.
But why would this glorious One stoop so low?
Drastic problems call for drastic measures.
This is the universal grip of death, tragedy, heartache, and evil (Romans 3:23) Look at even the smallest children. There is an innocence there but there is also a latent sin nature. I didn’t have to teach my two year old son to deceive.
“Josiah, did you eat the cookie I left on the table?”
With chocolate smeared in the corner of his mouth: “Noooo.”
Though some people get better at hiding this nature as adults, it doesn’t go away.
And God hates this sin. “God is love” is the oft quoted verse of our time, and that is so true. Yet God hates sin. The cross displays both of those realities perfectly. God’s love for us is emanating out from cross. God’s hatred for sin is being poured out onto Jesus during the cross. God hates sin and that’s why He had to pour out his wrath. (Isaiah 53:11) “It pleased God to crush Him. ….”
After making purification. It was a “Once for all” sacrifice as Hebrews points out numerous times. Jesus is not just Creator and Sustainer. Jesus is our personal High Priest. Our Go-between.
In the Old Testament the high priest had to enter once a year into the Holy of Holies to kill an animal on behalf of the people’s sins. Yet this priest was also sinner. This OT act was a shadow of the reality to come in Christ. Christ entered to the heavenly Holies once and for all (Hebrews 9:24). Yet He didn’t kill a scapegoat. Shockingly, He turned the knife on Himself. And the blameless blood that spilled out was perfect, holy and able to purify a people forevermore before God.
“Once and for all”, means for all our sins. Those past, present, and future transgressions. And Hebrews 7:25 says this same sympathetic High Priest “lives to make intercession” for us. He didn’t resurrect and ascend to just sit on His comfortable throne and eat celestial grapes. He’s a living advocate before the Holy Father right now. For the sin we committed last night. For the sin we commit tonight. For the sin we may commit on our deathbed 50 years from now.
Jesus Christ utterly blotted them out. “It is finished!” so He continually pleads His righteous blood and finished work before the Father on our behalf.
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” Heb 4:16;
This is no mere man.
Such incomprehensible power.
Such unconditional love.
Such sustaining grace for the now.