The Radiance of the Glory of Christ: Hebrews 1:1-4 (part 1)

“In many parts and in many ways, God was speaking long ago to the Fathers through the prophets, in these last days he spoke to us through the Son, whom he established as heir of all things, through whom he also created the ages.  Who being the radiance of the glory and the exact image of his essence, also bearing all things in the word of his power; after making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.  Becoming so much greater than the angels, as much as he has inherited a name superior to theirs.”  (Hebrews 1:1-4)

 

There are some passages of scripture that are so deep and so rich that it would take a lifetime to plumb the depths of their meaning, and even then, there would yet be riches left to discover.  And these verses indeed belong to that family.  They are a glorious picture of the divinity of Christ, our Lord and they stand before us as a wonderful testimony of the understanding that this inspired writer had of the glory of our King.  Many of our Biblical books start off fairly slowly and build in intensity as they develop; in this case, the author begins with passion and intensity, like a sprinter, launching himself out of the starting blocks at the beginning of a race.  This powerful opening have led many to argue that the book of Hebrews is a recorded sermon, and while that is possible, we simply do not know for sure.  The other thing we do not know for sure is just who was the passionate author of our text.  Some have asserted it is a sermon of Paul, some argue for Apollos, some Barnabas, etc…  The lines remain divided on this issue throughout history, and the fact is that we simply do not know for sure other than the book is inspired and it was written either by an Apostle or by one who was under the oversight of an Apostle (which was the ancient church’s primary criterion for deciding which books were Canonical). 

While we could go on for ages making arguments for one person’s authorship over another’s, and there are certain exegetical decisions one must make when translating this passage from the Greek (all 4 verses are 1 sentence in the original Greek language), what I want to do is to make several doctrinal and pastoral reflections from what we have here in the text.  This is a passage that should speak deeply to us and it will do us well to give ourselves to its study and even memorization.  What a passage to have on one’s lips as we go through the trials and troubles of life!  What a joy to praise our God with these words regarding his beloved Son!  Beloved, imbibe from the riches of these words, they are sweet to the tongue like honey and have the power to satisfy even the hungriest soul.

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