In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 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. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.”
But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
This IS some pretty heavy theology. But, when combined with various other passages of scripture (such as: John Chapter 1:1-4 & 14 and Philippians Chapter 2:5-10) a picture emerges that is crystal clear: Jesus is God! This is possible because God, portrayed in scripture as the one and only true and living God, has both the power and the creativity, as well as the imagination and the ability, to present Himself to humanity in any form or forms He chooses. And, if it is His good pleasure to present Himself to us as three separate and distinct divine entities who are individual in their persona, purpose, and place within the scope of His will, then we might ask, “who are we, as mere mortals, to limit Him?” Would we really be so presumptuous as to attempt to limit God to only what our little human perceptions of Him can conceive? The problem is not in our understanding the words on the page – what the word of God says – rather, the problem arises when we allow our human reasoning to cloud the clear message of the text.
So, we might ask, “But why? Why Jesus, then?” And, as this passage of scripture so beautifully illustrates, there are some things that can only be taught by way of living example – and there are some missions that can only be accomplished by one’s direct, personal, involvement. Looking carefully at this chapter, we learn something important about who Jesus was and what He came to accomplish. The text says: “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…” – (verses 3).
This is how God has chosen to explain Himself to humanity. For thousands of years God revealed a little bit about Himself and made known His will through the voice and the writings of the prophets. But, He knew that would never be enough. So, at the proper time, at a time that the Bible refers to as, “the consummation of the ages” (Hebrews 9:26), God did something truly remarkable. He stepped out of that spiritual dimension and into our material realm in the form of a man – to be born, to live, to love, to serve, to reveal Himself, and to sacrifice Himself on behalf of all humanity. If Jesus is “the exact representation of His nature,” then looking at the historical record of Jesus’ life, His teaching, His relationships, and His ultimate mission, helps us understand the true nature of God, our creator, in ways far more intimate and revealing than a mere prophet could have ever conveyed.
Question – do you and I believe that Jesus was, and is, exactly who the Bible teaches that He was and is? Is it possible for you and I to open our hearts and minds to the possibility that God cannot be confined to your meager understanding of what and who we “think” He should be? Can we begin to grasp the concept, the idea, that far from being a mere man, Jesus was and is the only begotten Son of God – God in the flesh? And that, when you or I bow before Jesus and honor Him as our Lord, and our Savior, we are not bowing before a mere man – we are honoring our Creator – the very one Who gives and sustains our lives – God Himself.
Do you consider these concepts a bit difficult to believe? Well, there are plenty of passages of scripture in the Bible to indicate that adhering to the Christian faith will not always be easy. Sometimes, it’s hard work. Do you remember when some among the crowds who were following Jesus asked Him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” And Jesus answered them, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent” (John 6:28-29, NIV). Sometimes, simply believing may be the hardest work of all. But, if you’re tempted to dismiss what the book of Hebrews, and other passages of scripture have to say about who Jesus was and is, or if you seek to relegate them to the realm of myth or legend, please consider also these words of Jesus: “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).
“Oh Lord, my God, in these days of high technology and sophisticated philosophy, as humanity investigates the quantum realms while exploring the endless cosmos, I confess that it is sometimes challenging for me to simply hold on to faith. Like the father whose son Jesus healed, and who cried out to Jesus, ‘I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief,’ I too cry out to You, “I believe, oh Lord. I do believe that, as surely as I am, You are. And I know, from within the deepest recesses of my heart that Jesus is the only begotten Son of the only true and living God. But though I do believe, still, when doubts and fears arise within my heart, I ask that You please help my unbelief.”
Copyright © 2022 Philip R. Stroud
All rights reserved