As we consider the Identity of the Lord Jesus Christ, we recall so far that we have seen two wonders. The first is that as heir of all things Jesus is Lord and the second is that Jesus as God is Creator. I hope that for you as it is with me, excitement fills your heart and soul as you are exposed to the real Identity of Jesus Christ! Today’s text is Hebrews 1:3a, which reads:
Heb 1:3a The Son is the radiance of God’s glory.
Here we see Jesus as Light.
Our street lights are out and the “Emergency WhatsApp Group” received a message that we be diligent and alert due to this. In writing this note I see on our security monitor that the cameras are picking up armed response vehicles with “white” lights flashing on their rooves, driving slowing, up and down our street. The picture is darkness apart from a few house lights … and then the security vehicles come diving slowly, lighting up the street and gardens as they pass. “Light lights up”. That’s its function … to chase away darkness and light up the area.
Many commentators believe “radiance” means “reflected” as in reflecting the glory of God as a window reflects the light of the sun. In other words, they think radiance is reflected light. Think of the blinding light when an oncoming vehicle has their headlights on bright at night shining into your interior rear view or door mirror. That is reflected light. However … the radiance of the Lord Jesus is not reflected! The sun’s light can be reflected; a torches light can be reflected; a house room’s light can be reflected, a vehicle’s light can be reflected … but the idea in our Divinely inspired text presents the idea that rays of light come out of an original body and form a similar light body themselves … so, the Lord Jesus is the out-ray of the Divine glory. He is not a reflection of God’s glory … He is the very glory of God. The light of the Father and the light of Jesus is one and the same light! The way God the Father expresses His glory is through God the Son. There is one glory … the radiance is one light … it’s the Divine glory and light … and the Son of God expresses this glory and light. You will recall Jesus saying:
Jn 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
He is saying … “I am the glory of God”. He is saying … “I am the very or the actual radiance of God”. Jesus does not reflect or radiate the glory of the Father … He is the glory of the Father … and where that glory is … there is true, Divine, penetrating, darkness exposing light!
Firstly, this light is spiritual in nature. The two characteristics we must be aware of in the spirit world are light and darkness. Darkness refers to the world of the enemy (Satan). Before he is our enemy he is God’s enemy. His world is sinister, evil, wicked and sinful. The Bible tells us that “God is light”:
1Jn 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
Nothing that belongs to the world of the enemy is found in God, His heaven and the beings and souls with Him in His heavenly dwelling. Darkness and Light are two totally opposites and can never be reconciled.
Secondly this light is revealing in nature. Jesus, being the radiance of God reveals the true God, His nature, character and personality to us. We read of Jesus’ presence on earth:
Jn 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
The phrase “made him known” means that Jesus made God known to the world He came to. It means Jesus came to “exegete” the Father. As a preacher’s duty is to open the Bible and reveal, explain, make known, exegete the text … so Jesus came to do just that … “make [the Father] known.”
Thirdly this light is penetrating in nature. When the Word is preached in the power of the Spirit, it penetrates the heart and soul, convicting the mind and troubling the will of man.
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
You see, God’s Word is “light”. The Psalmist says:
Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Although this verse’s intention is different, it does inform us that the Word is light and it does penetrate. That is why the preached Word targets your heart and reduces you to littleness as it exposes sin! That’s its intention and that is why Jesus, who is the radiance of God came to this earth!
Fourthly, this light is exposing in nature. By now you easily see the flow … that Jesus who is Light takes His penetrating Word to expose your (and my) sin.
Heb 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
As the Divine Light exposes our rebellion through the Word, confession takes place. We go to God in repentance and faith seeking pardon.
Fifthly, this light is cleansing in nature. As a fire purifies gold, so the flaming hot Light of the Word of God not only brings us to confess sin and repent, it cleanses. For each time confession leads to repentance (for salvation or continual repentance), cleansing or purification takes place.
Sixthly, this light is comforting in nature. Jesus as the radiance of God–the Light of God–is so encouraging because:
1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
What an encouragement for us as the people of God … and what a challenge to the lost for in Jesus, the Light of the World, true life and enjoyment may be found.
Dear Lord Jesus, You are the Word of God the Father and You are the Radiance of God the Father … the Light of the World. Thank You for taking Your Word and applying it to my soul, lighting up my world to behold the majestic glory of the Triune God bringing me to confession, repentance and faith because of Your Blood. Amen.