Summary: Jesus Christ is like the perfect photograph of the Father - not just physical likeness but His entire personality and character. As He shines His light on your life - are you photo-sensitive to His character?
How many of us would use our drivers license photo for a portrait of ourselves? I can’t seem to get a picture of myself that I like - I look at it and say "that just doesn’t represent me very well." Now - in fact the photo is pretty accurate - it is my ideal of what I want to look like that I am not getting to.
We can use all kinds of methods to get our photos to look better - soft light, good lens, a little Photoshop magic - in fact, Photoshop now has something called a "healing brush." I sure wish Adobe would come out with one of those we could carry around with us and just heal our appearance when we’re having a bad face day!
Our cameras and technology keeps getting better - has anyone seen the new High Definition TV sets out there? They really are remarkable, with the detail they reveal. In fact, TV stars are now worried because they have to use extra make-up for fear that every spot and blemish will be revealed through this new technology.
In reality we don’t want to look like ourselves, because we are never satisfied with our appearance. What if there was a way to take a photograph that not only revealed your true appearance on the outside, but also everything about you on the inside as well? Would you sit for that portrait?
What I’m getting to is that such an image exists. People are always saying - "you know if God would just come down and show Himself then we’d be satisfied and give up on all these other religions and ideas and embrace Him." The trouble is all the world religious figures have flaws - Mohamed was a murderer, Joseph Smith was a swindler (http://www.fairlds.org/pubs/conf/2002AndR.html), The Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was given to sexual immorality and on it goes.
But there was one person who represented God inside and out - through and through. And it’s as if God took a perfect Polaroid of Himself and sent it down to earth - that photo is Jesus Christ.
In the first two verses of Hebrews 1 we saw that God intended for Jesus to be the focus of all He did in the Old Covenant - that all that was preparation for the coming of the One - Jesus. But who is He? Why should we put so much focus on Him - why is Jesus so special that He merits such special treatment?
For those that already belong to Jesus we might say - well, He’s God and He’s the Savior and of course He’s special. But have you ever stopped to contemplate exactly what that means?
That’s what we have in verse 3 of chapter one - the answer to who is Jesus Christ really.
Hebrews 1:3 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.
There are five different things contained in this one verse - five things about Jesus that make Him so special.
The first is this: when you see Jesus, you see God.
1. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory
"Radiance" comes from two Greek words - "a ray of light" and "off" - so you could think of it as a source of light coming off of something or reflecting or shining. It can either mean a reflection, or a ray of light from an original source.
Both are accurate when it comes to Jesus Christ - He is both the reflection of who God is - but He is also God Himself.
The idea of "glory" can best be understood by looking at the story found in Exodus:
Ex 33:18-23 Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."
19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."
21 Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."
If you see God’s face without the salvation of Jesus Christ you will be obliterated. (Ex 33:20) But somehow Jesus represents God to us.