1 Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son. God has appointed Him heir of all things and made the universe through Him. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. 4 So He became higher in rank than the angels, just as the name He inherited is superior to theirs.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
We have a tendency to view Christianity from the perspective of how it impacts us. Although we don’t usually realize it, we can easily become the central actor in our play. The storyline is very familiar.
We were created perfect, we sinned and fell from grace, we desperately needed salvation. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we now have the opportunity to become reconnected with our Creator. And one day Jesus will return and we’ll reign with Him.
But Christianity can only be accurately understood when we begin to realize that we’re little more than the supporting cast, the “extras” if you will, in a vastly larger drama: the manifestation of God’s glory not only in all of time and space, but also throughout the unfathomable span and expanse of eternity.
These opening verses in Hebrews allow us to consider reality not from our point of view, but from the view of heaven:
- The universe (aion, the ages, or eternity) was made through Jesus.
- Everything that is, is sustained by the power of His word.
- He’s the exact expression of the Father’s nature.
- He radiates the Father’s glory.
- He’s eternally provided the purification for sin.
- He’s been appointed the heir of all things.
Does this perspective lessen the significance of the gospel message? As Paul would say, “Absolutely not!” You see, when we find our proper place in the larger drama of the heavenlies, this earthly stage is transformed into something eternally wondrous.
Beginning with “long ago” and culminating in “these last days,” God purposefully ordained our planet and our race to bear the imprint of His glory, which is made all the more radiant against the backdrop of our fallenness and depravity. His love has blasted its way into our unworthiness, His wisdom has thundered down on our foolishness, His forbearance and mercy have swept away our petty arrogance and whimperings.
And as we, like Job of long ago, look up with trembling repentance from the ash-heaps of our lives and “see with our eyes” the infinite majesty of the Sovereign of the universe, we will understand that His exaltation is ours as well, for He has amazingly chosen to show His love and glory in the context of your life, and mine.
- Many if not most of our problems become overwhelming in large part because we see them only in the context of what we know, what we can fix, what we can endure—and so often WE come up short. From God’s view, our struggles are only “for a little while, if necessary” (1 Peter 1:6), and He uses them to teach us more about Himself. Consider one or two of your most pressing concerns in the larger context of what God can accomplish through them. How does this adjusted view change things?
- Similarly, many of us see our callings as being those services we do for God. But Jesus demonstrated what our ultimate calling is when He lived a life that was the “exact expression” of the nature of the Father. Just as He could say, “The one who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), so our purpose is to become so conformed to the image of the Son (Romans 8:29) that when people see us they see Him.
- The only way we can become accurate reflections of God’s nature is by deliberately fixing our minds and hearts on Him until His personality shapes ours (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). As you serve others in whatever capacity God has granted you to serve, are they becoming more aware of who God is, what He requires, and what He can do?
- Finally, authentic worship takes place when the Spirit of Christ rules in our spirits, for He sees with proper perspective the full majesty of the Son and of the Father (John 15:26). How does this classic description by William Temple give us better insight into what God intends worship to be?
“Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose—and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.”