Jesus the ONE! Hebrews 1:1-3 (NASB) 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…
(The Message) Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently, He spoke to us directly through His Son. By His Son God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature. He holds everything together by what He says – powerful words! After He finished the sacrifice for sins, the Son took His honored place high in the heavens right alongside God, far higher than any angel in rank and rule.
A Quote from Eugene Petersen, (author of The Message) - “The word in verse 3 that I want to focus on is “stamped” which was something used for making impressions. In New Testament times, this word often referred to the impression on an official seal. Caesar, for example, put his name and image on a limestone seal, which was imprinted on official documents, and this represented the authority of the government."
“The use of this word in Hebrews is THE ONLY INSTANCE OF ITS OCCURRENCE IN the New Testament. But we know that it was a very common word, and the practice behind it was everyday and unexceptional. Here a person’s authority and personality were represented in an image. And that’s what Jesus did in relation to God. He bore the very stamp of God’s nature. And He did it accurately and authoritatively.”
This was interesting to me – the Message version uses “stamped” and the NASB uses “exact representation” (as is the NIV). And it is the only time it is used in the New Testament!? I would think it must be a very unique word – if it only occurs once!
So, I looked it up in a Greek Study Bible and it said “khar-ak-tar” - “from the same as a Graver; engraving, “character”; the figure stamped, i.e. an exact copy or representation; an express image; from charasso – to carve; an engraving tool. It also said that it is only used in Hebrews 1:3 where Jesus is described as the character or express image of God’s nature.
Then, it defined “nature” as “hupostasis” – that which is set under or stands under; the foundation; origin; beginning. Substance, what really exists under any appearance, reality, essential nature. Spoken of God’s essence in nature.
“So, God, what are You trying to say to me this day? What am I supposed to “hear” from You, July 24, 2013? What does all of this, and the blog, and Sunday’s Message about the Transfiguration have to do with me, today?” That’s what I am asking myself.
“What today, Papa?” “What is all this ‘stuff’ about exact representation, and stamps, and express image of God?” "And why is it only used once in the New Testament? It must be important enough – with all the gazillion words used – if it’s only used once – for me to sit here and ponder and chew on and wait on You to speak to me – a single “fleck” of a person – what does it mean for me?"
So, I wait, and I keep remembering a part of the message on Sunday that has been rolling around in my head – that on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured before the disciple’s eyes – when they saw Moses and Elijah – that “Jesus wasn’t just another Moses or another Elijah” – He was JESUS - Jesus the ONLY – “this is MY Son, Whom I love – with Him I am well pleased – listen to HIM!” He isn’t equal or similar to them at all – He is far above – in fact – He is God!
Sometimes I think I forget that Jesus is God – that He was there in the beginning – with the Father and the Spirit at the creation of the universe. I sometimes separate Him too much, and think of Him as “just” a Baby in a manger – Who grew up and died on the cross and rose again. Magnificent – yes! But I cannot forget that He is still God! Mind boggling!
This gives me great comfort and assurance on July 24, 2013. The Jesus I love and believe in and put all of my faith in – is not just another Moses or Elijah. "He is the exact representation of God – He is the heir of all things - and upholds all things by the word of His power. After He finished the sacrifice for sins, the Son took His honored place high in the heavens right alongside God."
This Jesus, Who led the disciples up on the mountain - thousands of years ago - This Jesus, Who was transfigured before their very eyes - thousands of years ago - This Jesus, Whom God said was His Son, Whom He loved, with Whom He was very pleased - thousands of years ago – is the very Jesus Who died for me, and rose for me, and paid the price for me. He’s not another Moses. He’s not another Elijah. He is God! He is my Savior, Redeemer, and Friend. And He still speaks to me, July 24, 2013. He is the Real Deal! That is blessed assurance!
I am curious --- what in the world did this section of Hebrews say to you, July 24, 2013?