The Incomparable Christ Hebrews 1:1-4
Part Two (Christmas Eve) Dec. 24, 2014
“Jesus is Incomparable as the Radiance of the Father’s Glory”
Pastor Louis Prontnicki Maple Glen Church
Please close your eyes for a minute. Imagine that when you opened them, all you saw was total darkness. If that happened, there would be one of two possibilities. One was that there was external darkness, with no light at all around you. The other was that there was internal darkness, that is, you had become blind and could not see.
The true meaning of Christmas was that Jesus Christ came into the darkness of our souls and the darkness of our world as the Light of the world. His coming to earth as a baby would not only bring light to the external darkness of our sin-cursed world; it would also give us new eyes to that we could see Him and the world as they really are. Indeed, Jesus is unrivaled as the radiance of the Father’s glory.
In the beginning of time and matter, we are told that Gen. 1:2-4 “Darkness was over the surface of the deep” “And God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”
Imagine the whole earth being wrapped in utter darkness, and then God spoke, and a brilliant light illuminates everything, and that light God created was good.
But the sacred story goes on to tell us (John 3:19-20) that men and women loved the darkness instead of the light, because their deeds were evil. They ran away from the light because they feared having their evil deeds exposed by the light; in fact, they hated the light.
So for centuries people walked in darkness, a moral darkness, with darkened hearts:
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)
So we all shut out God’s Light, because we are evil and don’t want to be exposed, and because we don’t want to give glory to God; we want it for ourselves.
Yet God did not leave mankind without the promise of the light returning. 700 years before the True Light was to come, we were promised that “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned…”
How would that happen? God would send His Son as that Light:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
(Isaiah 9:2, 6)
Indeed, this light from God would illumine the whole world, and nations and rulers would be drawn to this light: (Isaiah 60:1-3) “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Centuries later, God sent that Light into the world:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it….. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-5, 9-14)
Here is the story of the incarnation: God became man, to enable us to become children of God, through His grace in Christ.
Jesus is the Light:
John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus declares who He is: the light of the world; and He holds out this promise, that whoever follows Him will be liberated from darkness, and have the light of life.
Hebrews 1:3 tells us that “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory”
In Christ, all the majesty of God’s splendor is fully revealed. Christ radiates the glory of the Father as the sunlight radiates the brightness and intensity of the sun.
We see the sun by means of seeing the rays of the sun. So we see God the Father by seeing Jesus. The rays of the sun arrive here about eight minutes after they leave the sun, and the round ball of fire that we see in the sky is the image—the exact representation—of the sun; not because it is a painting of the sun, but because it is the sun streaming forth in its radiance.
Creation reveals God’s “invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature” (Rom. 1:20). But God’s Son is “the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.”
Yet even in the midst of such radiance and glory, many people still are walking in blindness:
2 Cor. 4:4, 6 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
And Jesus is that Light in the future, forever:
Rev. 21:22-24 “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.”
So… why did God’s Son need to become a man, like one of us?
The story is told of a devout Hindu man who was confronted with the claims of Christ. But he could not grasp the concept that God had taken on human flesh in the person of Jesus.
Now this Hindu regarded all of life, including insects, as sacred. One day as he walked in a field wrestling with the concept of God becoming man, he came upon an anthill with thousands of ants. This anthill was in the path of a farmer plowing the field.
Gripped with a concern that you or I would feel for hundreds of people trapped in a burning building, this man wanted to warn them of their impending destruction and save them. But, how? He could shout to the ants, but they would not understand him. He could write a message in the ground, but they would not comprehend it. How could he communicate with them and rescue them? Then it dawned on him: if he only could become an ant, he could warn them and save them.
Then he understood the message of Christmas; that God had to become a man, in Jesus, to communicate His message of salvation to us, and to rescue us.
That’s why God’s Son, the Light of the world, came into our sin-darkened world, to bring the light of life to our darkened hearts, to save us.