Nature of Christ
Originally scheduled for August 15
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many
portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in
His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He
made the world. 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, having become as much better than
the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
(Hebrews 1:1-4 NASB)
The question came naturally to the ancient Hebrew Christian. Just
why is this Jesus of Nazareth so special that he is considered to be
the sacrifice who takes away our sins? They knew about sacrifice, of
course. They had studied the Old Testament Law and naturally wanted
to know the connection between that law and Jesus. In this passage,
the author — universally supposed to be Paul by the ancient church —
explains why Jesus, the Christ, should be so regarded. He answers
the question, “What’s so special about Jesus?”
He begins by pointing out three things that we can observe
He is the appointed heir of all things. Anything which is matter and
energy belongs to Jesus Christ.
He is the agent of creation. That means that when God created the
universe, He did it through Jesus. The ancient church had a saying
that all good things “came from the Father, through the Son, by the
Have you ever wondered why the laws of physics don’t change? It is
because Jesus, the Christ, sustains the universe by his power. God
does not change; his creation does not change, for Christ sustains
Relationship to God
Much more than we would understand, the ancient world relied very
much on symbols of authority to determine who was to be obeyed. The
purple robe was not just a fashion statement but a sign of
authority. Authority ultimately comes from God. So we can examine
the relationship of Christ to God to see his authority.
He is the radiance of God’s glory. If you want to see what is
praiseworthy in God the Father, look at the Son. His actions repeat
what God is.
He is the perfect imitation of God. You and I do not have the
ability to see God directly, but we have the perfect picture in
Most telling, he is seated at the right hand of God. Seated, not
bowing before him. At the right hand, where the most powerful are
Relationship to us
All of the above is well and good, but the ancient Jew knew that the
sacrifice the takes away sin had to be “in the flesh.” Angels might
deliver the law and prophecy, but sacrifice for sin had to have real
flesh. Christ was fully human as well as fully God. He is our
He is the only one who is sinless, and therefore entirely pure. The
ancient you would recognize this as an acceptable sacrifice; nothing
less would do for the sins of mankind.
Where else besides God which you find love sufficient to go to the
Cross? Only the love of God would do that.
To put the point practically, He is the only one who
did go to the cross. His
death and resurrection were well witnessed.
It is altogether fitting, therefore, that we should remember the
greatest sacrifice in human history. No one else could have done it.
No one else has ever tried. Therefore, as you prepare for communion
this morning, think on these things. Remember how great your Lord is
and the greatness of his sacrifice for you. To take in a worthy
manner you need respect rising to the point of awe. Know who He is;
remember who you are.