Thursday, December 15, 2022
Reader: “The Son radiates God’s own glory”
Response: “and expresses the very character of God.”
Scripture: Hebrews 1:1-3
Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.
This passage of Scripture is one of the more profound, far-reaching pericopes in all of Scripture. We have been reading these past weeks how God spoke through the prophets as we have had readings from Malachi, Habakkuk, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and Micah. While all of the writings spoke of a coming Messiah, in some cases the advent of his birth and in others the advent of his Return, we are now in this passage directed to God’s immediate presence on earth speaking not through the prophets, but through his very own Son.
Here we learn more specifics concerning God and his incarnate Son. Everything in existence is the Son’s inheritance. Everything was made for him. Through God’s Son all creation came into being. The Son is filled with God’s glory and is the very expression of God in human form. The word translated “radiates” is used just once in the New Testament. It includes the idea of brilliant brightness which is not a reflection of another light, but is itself the source of the brilliance. The Son is God, is the Source of the light. He is the sustainer of everything that is through his unlimited and matchless power having always existed. In these verses we are beginning to see the ramifications and the overwhelming significance of the birth of Jesus.
Because of the Son of God, the universe has come into existence. Now the Son of God has taken on human flesh and come to planet earth. You can see that his nativity is so much more significant than the simple birth of a baby boy in a feeding trough as wonderful as that is. God, who is not subject to time, entered into earthly time at his conception. And now he enters the world as a baby that he might redeem all of Creation. This baby came to earth to give his life enabling all who place their trust in his efficacious work on the cross receiving forgiveness of sin might spend eternity in his presence when making the transition from life on earth to life in heaven. To help give you a bigger picture of Jesus’ birth, read Isaiah 53 thinking of a baby in a manger to remind yourself of God’s perspective.
Who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.
He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
he was led away.
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.
He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.
But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
This is our God who “loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Jn 3:16
Music: “Joy to the World” The Spirituals Choir
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGyYAzrctzk traditional Soundiva Classical Choir
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDmIddF7DfQ Celtic Women (A production!)
O Lord, our self-revealing God, we thank you for giving us the full picture of your love as the whole of Scripture unfolds. In it we see from the beginning to the end how you took care of each detail and how truly dependent we are upon you for everything. Thank you for your willingness to inhabit this planet, this speck in the universe, to make possible the restoration of our communion with you. Forgive us when we simply and flippantly take your sacrifice for granted in our prayers, songs, thoughts, and actions. Your condescension and humiliation is beyond anything we can begin to comprehend. But we thank you for humbling yourself, even unto the point of death, death on a cross. Wherefore God has highly exalted you. That at your name every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow. For your name is above every name in heaven and on earth. And so we joyfully bow on our knees, joining in with all those who bring you glory. We pray this in the glorious name of your Son, our matchless Redeemer. Amen. ―Daniel Sharp