sermon: Hebrews (Part Four): Who Was Jesus?
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 18-May-19; Sermon #1488; 65 minutes
In the first chapter of his gospel, the apostle John assures us that Jesus was not just an extraordinary man exhibiting power and humility without flaw, but also possessed the massive intellect needed to create, design and implementing all manner of life. Through our calling and the receiving the Holy Spirit, God has adopted us into His family. We have the solemn responsibility of participating in our purification. If we are ever to see our heavenly Father, we must yield to the Son—the co-eternal Word who became flesh in order to reveal the Father to us and to gift us with His Holy Spirit, thereby enabling us to incrementally develop godly Family characteristics. In His 3 ½-year ministry Jesus demonstrated to the disciples that He was both God and man. Jesus taught His disciples so they could write the New Testament. In Hebrews 1, the writer of Hebrews assures us that Christ was (1.) the only begotten Son, (2.) the Heir of all things, (3.) the Creator of all things, (3.) the Builder of the house, (4.) the Brightness of God's glory (John 10:30), (5.) the express image of the Father, (6.) the One Whose sacrifice was responsible for purging us from our sins, something no Old Covenant sacrifice could do (Hebrews 10.4), and (7.) is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, closely implementing His Father's plan of salvation.
Does it surprise you that the title of this sermon is “Who Was Jesus?”? I did not finish what I previously prepared about Him to fit into this series regarding the book of Hebrews, but I believe I probably will with this chapter.
I believe that the slow and somewhat repetitious details that we are involved in regards to His importance to our salvation is well worth the time and the efforts made on behalf of our relationship with this magnificent Personality.
Jesus was definitely not merely an extraordinary man. He was indeed unique, great above all others who ever lived. Every characteristic regarding His attributes is to be admired on the basis of His great love and giving unstintingly in every aspect of His character as He expressed to His creation. It was all given so humbly and abundantly for our eternal well being. Never has both the glorious and refined power combined with humility been expressed so without flaw before all by the same Person.
Now consider these complementary realities. Contained within Him, He had all the intellectual powers necessary to design and then bring into existence this awesome creation with all of its immense size, and then populate it with stars, planets, angels, humans—already somewhat in His image—animals, fish, and birds. All of them amazingly, most of them anyways I should say, showing some signs of life. Now that is an amazingly gigantic investment. But by any logical direction of reasoning, we do not deserve even one tiny minute aspect to live in what He has produced.
Yet He also willingly took on the responsibilities, including giving His divine life ultimately in death, to pay for our sins. We will learn more about this as we proceed through this part of the title question, answering aspects of it, as to who was Jesus.
We will continue in this sermon by re-reading beginning in John 1.
John 1:6-13 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.
The apostle John reminds us in verses 9-11, that mankind’s attitude toward its Creator was contrary; indeed, so hardened, fickle, and indifferent, that those of mankind He personally and directly went to give knowledge to overwhelmingly rejected Him, even though many of them witnessed some of His miraculous acts. In fact, at the end of His life, a large number of them appealed to Pilate to crucify Him.
Now, to reinforce this truth, the apostle Paul dogmatically states in Romans 8:7 that man’s carnal mind is at war against Him. The much-needed transformation of mankind’s mindset, for them, and now to us, is to become children—not of Abraham, or of any other human—but of God. We have got to firmly believe this process is under way in our lives.
The acceptance of this knowledge begins the transformation that is, in reality, the impartation of God-life. A literal spiritual birth that begins the transformation of one into the image of God, though a gradual process, but for this to occur, we are required to faithfully adhere to our responsibilities after we are given God’s Spirit. Now meeting our responsibilities helps move God to make us acceptable into the God Family by means of adoption as the apostle Paul wrote.
I want to touch on this just a little where Paul mentions this in Romans 8.
Romans 8:12-17 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors [note that word debtors]—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Basically what this is beginning to introduce to us, if we do not already know it, is that we must prove our understanding by our conduct to God, and use our faith combined with a level of determination to glorify Him.
So with this sermon, let us see yet more of Jesus Christ revealed to our understanding. In order to clearly establish our responsibilities so that we plainly grasp where we stand, as we begin this sermon, let us turn to a clear statement of our responsibilities made by this same apostle John, after he accepted God’s calling and Jesus Christ sacrifice.
I John 3:2-3 Beloved, now we are children of God [We are not born into the Family yet, in the way that God is going to finish us, but we are still considered by Him as children.]; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be [that is, it is not revealed what we are going to be in regard to being accepted in His Kingdom], but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
That last sentence, “and everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”; I think I hold this as true for all of you, that is why you are here. That you are here as a portion of your purification. The purification written about here is the refinement of knowledge, understanding, attitude, and character into the very image of God, achieved by God—He is the Creator—as we give ourselves to Him in obedience. He is the One who finishes His creation, but we have the responsibility of voluntarily giving ourselves to Him to work with.
That is what faces us, the process of purification. Now let us go back again to John 1.
John 1:12-13 But as many as received Him [You are here because you did receive the calling and you received Jesus Christ], to them [you are included] He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
All three expressions in this vital clause in the beginning of verse 13, are emphasizing with firm strength and clarity—there is nothing cloudy about them—that believers derive their standing before God due to absolutely nothing physical or biological. Those so blessed with the reality of God’s calling are given three things. Stated here: 1) born of God, 2) but not of anybody whose life is in the blood. In other words, nothing came from humanity and then to make sure, the apostle John says, “nor the will of man,” the will either.
God’s grace is entirely the source and foundation of this salvation. So what have you done to earn this? The answer is right there. It was something given by God, entirely. He moved you and me to move in this direction with our thinking, and to accept the offer that He gave to us that included payment of our sins by Jesus Christ.
I perceive that John wanted to make sure that the Israelites, and perhaps most especially the Jews at the time he was writing this, understood this reality clearly. In other words, he wanted to make sure, they got it! Now why? Because God had opened the door to salvation every bit as widely to the Gentiles as it was to the Israelites. There was now competition on the field, in that sense. God had more people to chose from to be a part of His Family and He could choose Gentiles, along with Israelites.
So the Creator God was thus no longer just the God of the Israelitish people. We who were born Israelites or lived our lives in Israelitish nations, must understand that being an Israelite is no longer an advantage in this spiritual regard. No one can come to Christ unless God draws Him—Israelite or Gentile. God is in charge of the whole program and under Him is Jesus Christ, carrying out His functions under the Father.
It is God who is totally in control of this selection, evaluating, choosing, and impregnating by means of His Spirit. He, God, is not a citizen of any human nation and it is He who is the Creator working within us, so let us continue on.
I put this in here because I wanted to make sure that we understood clearly where we stand. We have been given an awesome blessing that we did not earn in any way, shape, or form. Now let us begin in verse 14.
John 1:14-18 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John [the Baptizer] bore witness of Him and cried out saying, “This was He of whom I sad, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
Now if you are not getting it, I will put it to you plainly. What we are seeing is where Jesus Christ stands in your life and mine. We are before Him only because God did what He did. He chose us to understand who Jesus Christ is, and as we just read (all you have to do is read it again to see it), it is Jesus who reveals the Father to us. Get that straight. If Jesus does not do that job, we do not know who the Father is. That is why He is so necessary to our salvation. It is not just the forgiveness of sin, it is more than that. He lives in us, He works in us, He directs us, He teaches us. He is all in all to us. If we are going to be able to see the Father, it is because we have yielded to the Son. Along with yielding to the Son, we yield to the Father as well.
Back in verse 14 again. We are going to read the first five words, “And the Word became flesh.” Until I was studying for this sermon, I had never done what I am about to tell you, that I am going to give to you now.
I wonder if you have ever given much thought about the fourth word in verse fourteen, where it states, “And the word became flesh”? As used in this situation, became is not an unusual or even a unique Greek word. It means exactly in Greek as it does in English. It clearly means “came to be.” “And the Word, came to be flesh.” This Spirit being, this Creator, this God, came to be, became flesh.
As used in a normal situation, we might say that a child became an adult. That is, the child “came to be” an adult. In our mind's eye we can see a passage of time as they are growing up, they came to be an adult. However, because John was writing truths about Jesus, became needs to be understood in a unique way. This is not a normal person. He is a normal personality yes, but He is not normal in the way that we are normal. Let me give you an example, you will relate to this very easy.
When Lot’s wife became salt, she literally came to be salt, and she died. And she was no longer the wife of Lot. Lot’s wife literally came to be something else. Now by way of contrast, when Lot became the father of Moab and Ammon as a result of his drunken incest with his daughters, he continued right on living as Lot. Nothing changed regarding Lot personally except he came to be an incestuous father. Otherwise, things remained as they were. He did not “came to be” something else, except an incestuous father.
However, when the Word, the Son of God, became Jesus Christ, assuming human nature, many sections of the Bible show that though they were united perfectly, they never truly became wholly fused. Do you know how we know that? Regardless of being human, He remained being God. There has never been a time when He was not God. He was God in the grave and then resurrected. All the while He was human, He was also God. The apostles knew that, that He really was God. But they also knew He really was human. This is really an unusual Personality that we are dealing with here.
So to make it very clear, in other words, He did not give up being God and yet He is also at the same time dependent upon and very experienced in human functions. Now by way of illustration, God is normally eternal and absolutely, totally independent of His creation. He does not need the creation one iota to continue living and working. But Jesus was a perfect blending of both worlds. He could even die if He gave Himself over to it, and He did so. Now let us note that He was somewhat dependent on the same things as all other human beings are.
I am going to show you a series of verses to show you that as a human being He was dependent upon the same things human beings normally are.
John 4:6-7 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied [He got tired.] from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”
John 6:53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.”
His life depended on blood at that time.
John 8:40 “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.”
I chose that one just to show you that He could be killed if He allowed it.
John 11:33-35 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.
He experienced human emotion. I think that is enough for you to get the point.
Now by means of God’s merciful calling He drew us to an understanding of saving knowledge of Jesus, forgave us, gave us the gift of His Holy Spirit, adopted us into His Family, and gave us of His abundant characteristics so that we, even now, are children of God and gradually being transformed into the very likeness of God. Even now there exists in us a tiny likeness of Jesus Christ. Now the highest realization of this occurs at the resurrection when we are freed from every human impurity and God is completely manifest in us. This is why John the apostle says that,
John 1:12 . . . as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.
To become fully of what God is in terms of life itself, but of course not in terms of authority and leadership. Now let us go back to the first chapter of John again and read these verses again because they are pretty important with regards to our relationship with Jesus Christ.
John 1:14-18 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out saying, “This was He of whom I sad, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
These four verses provide an overview of the tiny amount of the glory the apostles apprehended in Jesus Christ during those 3½ years they spent learning from Him as He traveled about. The glory they witnessed during that time was the contrast between mankind’s utter rejection of Him and the unstinting outpouring of His love.
The Bible describes God as love. God is love. God personifies in His every act the ultimate in love. Now the major element we must grow to understand is that love is primarily an action. It is His level of that activity He intends giving to all who believe Him. It also basically says in this section that He pitched His tent among us for a while. In addition, it also says the apostles did not merely see Him more closely—this is important—it more correctly says that they examined Him with care. They considered Him contemplatively, thoughtfully. I wrote myself a note here: do not forget that John thought on this, maybe for about fifty years or so. These are words that are really well-considered regarding the life of Jesus Christ and where we stand in regard to Him.
That the apostles observed what Jesus did is so far above my pay grade I cannot grasp it with the warmth that the apostles did. They thought on these things for a long time and I am sure that the more they thought on it, the greater they came to understand what it was that they had access to. In verse 18, He is directly called the “only begotten Son.” What John is saying is that Jesus, like the Father, has existed like the Father, from eternity. He was reinforcing that thought. There was never a time that He was anything else.
Now what I am going to do is read the Amplified Version of those four verses. Listen carefully:
John 1:14-18 (AMP) And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.John testified about Him and cried out, This was He of Whom I said, He Who comes after me has priority over me, for He was before me. [He takes rank above me, for He existed before I did. He has advanced before me, because He is my Chief.] For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift. For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ. No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].
He did not reveal God in just a moment’s thought, it took Him 3½ years of ministry to put these men into the position that they were in. Now the sum of His declaration is that He was always God. He was, or this was, and remains, His glory. If anybody ever asks you what the glory of God was or Jesus Christ, He was always God. You cannot be, in a sense, less than that. As long as He was God, that was His glory, and they knew that.
The Amplified Version translators could clearly perceive that there are characteristics in Him that distinguish Him from all others. Therefore they translate verse 18 (and I am going to read that again in this manner). Listen carefully because they insert one word that they define Christ differently from the way that we normally think of Him.
John 1:18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].
That is what we owe to Jesus Christ. Now the verse is saying that even as a human, Jesus is distinguished as one of a kind and like the Father has existed from eternity. That is different, indeed different, from the way that we normally tend to think how He came to be. We do not know how He came to be. What the Bible reveals is that He has been with God the Father the entire time that the Father has been. There has never been a time when either of them has been without the other. That is hard to grasp, we cannot get ourselves around it. We think of us becoming God by means of a resurrection, but there was a time when we were human beings and we did not even exist. Jesus Christ has always existed, just like the Father. That is mind boggling!
Now let us clearly understand that the epistle to the Hebrews was not dictated and then copied as the book of Leviticus was. It is instead taught by God in the flesh to twelve leaders He specifically appointed to follow Him about as He carried out His responsibilities of revealing the Father and Himself, and preaching the gospel and His way of life from within the gospel as they moved about.
The content of what became the epistle to the Hebrews was learned by the apostles on the fly, as it were, in the midst of life as it was being practiced in literal day-by-day real life situations. Teaching was done in normal sit-down sessions combined with living lessons as Jesus exemplified them. He exemplified them by His very own life as He interacted with the public. As we know, at the end of this method of teaching by God in the flesh, revealed a major extent of His love by giving Himself in death, sacrificing His life for the spiritual benefit of those following Him.
Could any teacher possibly go farther than what He did by becoming a human being and dying? I mean, for me to think about John Ritenbaugh giving up being what I would have had if I were Him, that is really something. I want you to see the way the apostle John acknowledged this.
John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
That word “end” is not well translated. The Greek literally says, “He loved them to the uttermost.” And put into a little bit longer definition it also would be better understood as, “to the last and highest degree possible.”
So the twelve chosen at the beginning of His ministry, then proceed to participate in the far more direct responsibility of teaching that same way of life that they learned when they were following God in the flesh. It is right at this point that we collide head on with a major difference between the old and the new teaching system. The worship rules outlining the way of life now being learned are most directly learned as practiced in life’s daily experiences through carrying out one’s daily responsibilities, while at one and the same time a personal relationship exists between teacher and students.
Listen carefully because I am explaining what we will call the new teaching method that Jesus instituted with the apostles and He is carrying on with you and me. Now this way’s goals are less systematically accomplished that they were under the Old Covenant. Every student is on his own level. Christ did not hand the apostles an already printed book to teach, as He pretty much did with Leviticus. Instead, from knowledge the twelve were gathering as they followed Him about, those leaders He chose to teach His way were going to participate in writing and organizing a book themselves far more extensive than merely Hebrews.
I do not know if Jesus ever mentioned this as being an aim of His for these twelve. That is, that they were going to write the book. That book had its beginnings as Jesus personally taught them but its teaching by Jesus continued on over a span of roughly 50 years as they were carefully groomed and overseen by Jesus for this responsibility. He directed this spiritually from His place in heaven. The book that they wrote is today called the New Testament.
At this point, it is helpful to remember that Leviticus has five full chapters with detailed instructions just on the sacrifices. But under the New Covenant, we learners—we disciples—are the sacrifices, and that makes all the difference in the world in terms of the quality of the product produced. This method of instruction absolutely requires the disciple, you and me, to make practical day to day use of his faith right on the battlefield, as it were, even as we are learning. But, and this “but” is very important, it functions well only when there is a faithful and loving spiritual relationship between the teacher, Christ, and the disciple.
Christ was with them day in and day out. Now He is in heaven and He lives in us. We have that advantage, not quite to the same extent that they did, but we are not going to produce what they did either—that is, the New Testament. They had to see Him twenty-four hours a day practically, in order to come up with a really complete picture of who it was and what it was they were dealing with.
That would be hard for me to wrap around my mind—that this Man is really God. That this Man was the one who created this earth that I am on. That He was the one who designed everything about it, all of its life forms. Can you get just a little bit of this as to why there has got to be a good relationship between the Teacher and the disciple? If we do not have a good relationship with the Son, then we are going to kick off the traces and we will depart like many did. They could not get it through their minds that they were dealing with God!
That is who we are dealing with. Now they had one advantage, they could see Him. But that was not always an advantage because people departed from Jesus left and right. They could not handle believing that He was really God. That incidentally is what they used to put Him to death. He claims that He is God, but that is what He was. He was not lying to them. We are dealing with God.
Therefore, the disciples are being tested to prove their growth daily as He goes on along the way with them, and with us too. By this manner, the book the apostles produced consists of four accounts focused on the life of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, plus Acts, plus twenty-one epistles and the book of Revelation. Twenty-seven writings in all authored by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James, Jude, and Paul being the one more.
Not one of these books existed as they watched and heard God in the flesh as He taught them earlier. What is achieved in the end of the training is an already tried and tested way of life—a tried, tested way of life ingrained in many disciples’ character. The epistle to the Hebrews was probably the last of the epistles written and it took an unusually mature spiritual mind with experiential knowledge and understanding for it to be written.
Jesus of Nazareth is our life. He is our connection to eternity and its glories. He is that important to our spiritual progress if we are going to garner the most spiritual value possible from our calling. Garnering the most begins with a firm foundation of truth about Him and that is exactly how the author begins revealing our Savior in the book of Hebrews.
The truth is best begun with awesome wonderment. Now I know that I am surely falling short, but what I am trying to do here is to fill us with at least some measure of wonderment about who it is that we are dealing with. The truth is best begun with awesome wonderment, the truths regarding His accomplishments. Never forget that it is He, without one iota of boasting, who dogmatically stated, “Without Me, you can do nothing.” That is how important He is.
He of course meant nothing in terms of achieving in terms of what the Father wants us to achieve. The gifts that God gives us in order that we are enabled to be in His Kingdom. Now let us turn to Hebrews.
Hebrews 1:1-4 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Now, as we begin Hebrews, we are also switching authors, from the apostle John to probably the apostle Paul, and also the purpose for its writing is also different from any of the other books as well. During the time of its writing, one of the immediate purposes of Hebrews was to convince Jews, already within the framework of the church, that Jesus was fully qualified to be High Priest. Acts 15, clearly establishes this need because controversies had indeed risen. The author uses virtually the entire epistle to do this. But he also uses this opening paragraph to name seven of Jesus’ qualifications ever-so-briefly but at the same time with effective and telling comprehensiveness of thought by specifically naming them in order to give assurance that the administration was in good hands.
What the apostle John describes in more detail, Paul names with lightning rapidity, laying a foundation of characteristics that Jesus in some way fulfilled in His ministry and continues to this day to fulfill. Now they are announced by Paul (to me anyway), with all the subtly of a tremendous thunderclap.
I know I will not be able to give due justice to what Paul names in the first three or four verses. That is why that man said that the opening of the book, A Tale of Two Cities, cannot hold a candle to the first three or four verses of Hebrews. This is the way I have put it. With those first four verses, I think there is no hiding of this God/Man’s qualifications as High Priest. Paul will use the remainder of this epistle to cover them in some way. But I am going to name them and provided ever-so-brief explanations and descriptions.
1) He is, as we have already seen, the only begotten Son, unique among all who have ever lived with the exception of the Father. (We will not deal with this any further than we already have.)
2) He is already directly appointed Heir of all things. Do you think the Father would give out that responsibility to any old person? No, it goes to the Person first in qualifications. I wrote myself a note here. It might be asked if any higher honor will ever be given Him, to be the Heir. Now to the ancient Jews, His already being named Heir, regardless of the heir’s age, conveys assurance of ownership, in addition to dignity and dominion. It assures continuance in office and administration. The term is like money in the bank, but it is a more dignified way of conveying assurance that what matters to the Father will be continued by the Son. By naming Him heir, God is assuring that things are in good hands. People believe the Bible; things are in good hands.
3) He is the Creator of all things and the Giver to all living the life that they possess. This is another assuring reality. Is there any sort of competitor who qualifies higher than Jesus in terms of His desire to faithfully care for what He Himself created? The creation includes humanity within it. Jesus is faithful to fulfill His responsibilities to what He has created. In Hebrews 3, the apostle Paul directly makes this very claim comparing Christ to Moses. Yes, Moses was faithful as a servant in the house, but Christ is faithful as the builder of the house. 'Come on Moses, see if you can trump this?' That is in a way, what Paul’s challenge is. That is why I say that all of these things are announced like with a thunderclap.
4) He is the brightness of God’s glory, the express image of His very Person. Jesus already stated in John 10:30, that He and the Father are one. Paul is essentially saying the same thing but with somewhat different descriptors. He is exactly like the Father. That is what Paul is making clear. He is exactly like His Father in both purpose and character, and even as the Father is immutable and self sufficient, so also is the Son.
What Paul is saying is astounding. He is saying that the Son—get this—is in no way inferior to the Father! Do you hear what I am saying? Whatever glorious excellency there is in the Father is also in the Son. That was a real thunder boomer. One of the things that John 1:18 is teaching, that as we are humanly equipped the brightness of God’s glory could not be perceived. Without Christ, man is in the dark concerning God. It is in Christ that God is revealed.
5) This one further explains the previous one a bit further. It says He is the express image of His person. It is though the Father is in His character engraved within the Son. Colossians 1:15 states that, “He is the image of the invisible God.” Further Paul states, “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead, bodily.” All the fullness of the Father is in the Son. Do we have a Savior or what? Do we need a relationship with Him or what?
One of the elements that spins off from this is that since God is invisible, all true knowledge of God must proceed from God to us, otherwise we continuously create gods from our own imagination. And John 1 clearly reveals it was in and through Christ that mankind was given some measure of insight into God’s reality.
So we do have these truths. He upholds things in the universe by the Word of His power. He speaks of two major points. One, the continuing preservation of all that exists and gives testimony of, two, His continuing faithful dominion and management of His creation. Paul thus provides insight into Christ's faithful continual administration of His creation is continuing onward.
6) He Himself purged us of our sins. This one is perhaps the highest of glories befitting mankind. This is a second very important aspect of His administration of His rulership as He faithfully works to prepare us for His Kingdom by not deviating from the same purpose as the Father. What is especially noteworthy in regard to us is that from Hebrews 10:4 we learn (this is good to know), there was no purification whatever from the filth of sin by means of the purification rites done under the Old Covenant. I want you to think about that. When you go home, read Hebrews 10:4 and then apply it to what we have now.
7) The very One who created us, and then descended to earth to begin to lift mankind to highly exalted positions, is now re-established in heaven at the right hand of God from whom He is enabled to survey all that is created within it. Having clearly passed God’s judgment, He is already second only to the Father in rulership thus again witnessing of His faithfulness to the Father and His purpose.