Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV)
I’m experimenting with a different approach to Bible reading and blogging. I’ve read some great books, but thought it was time to return to the source and read through a book of the Bible. I picked Hebrews.
I know the book of Hebrews is about the supremacy of Jesus. What stopped me as I began reading is how quickly the writer of Hebrews establishes the premise of the book. The image we get in the gospels of Jesus does not seem bright. People see Jesus and ignore him. Yet the writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus shows us perfectly who God is and what he is like. The words used don’t describe a dim reflection or some other form of diminished image. They convey very strongly that when we look at Jesus we see God. The world was created through him and the universe is held together by him.
What does this mean to me? I can’t think of an analogy in the physical world. If I attempt to look at the sun by looking at its reflection my eyes will be damaged as much as if I looked directly at the sun. Great actors may give me an impression of what someone else was like, but once they step off the stage or set they are rarely like the person they were playing. Jesus is different.
We live in a virtual world. Much of my career involved working with virtual teams. They were virtual because I couldn’t take a walk and interact with a real physical person. We rarely used video conferencing technology to see people’s faces. Instead, we displayed data and text. The hardest thing was getting to know a new team member without a face to face meeting. I know technologist keep working on it, but I think it will be a long time before there is any adequate substitute for a face to face meeting. How do you virtually share a meal together?
God sent Jesus as a real human who could and did share many meals with many people. Jesus be heard, and he could also be seen, heard, touched, and smelled. How does that work today? While we’re tempted to use all the technology available to communicate the gospel it seems to me that the best approach is the one God used. As members of the body of Christ we need to pursue close physical contact with people who need to hear the good news. In this life we will never be the radiance of the glory of God or the exact representation of his nature. We are reflectors. We can keep ourselves turned toward Jesus, the source of light, and do everything we can to keep our reflector cleaned and polished. I admit that much of the time I want people to see me when my desire should be that they see Jesus.