Wednesday, May 14, 2014

He's the spitting image of His Father!

As the school year closes, and my classroom teaching career comes to an end, I was musing the other day about all of the things I have left undone. Even in the remaining month and a half of school, there is so much left to impart. For instance, I’m passionate about U.S. history (which is why I love 5th grade), so I feel the urgency of getting through the final unit on the formation of our government as we study the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and all that led up to them. A frequent lament of students is “Why do we have to study this stuff? Why do we need to learn about a bunch of dead man?” Of course, I always answer with the same thing: We study history to learn from the past, so that we don’t continue to make the same mistakes. Yep, that’s the goal, but apparently we aren’t such great learners!

Even so, the purpose of studying Bible history is also to learn the lessons of the past - to see how men have interacted with God throughout that history, so that we might grow in our understanding of God. God could have just given us a list of rules to follow. Oh wait! He did that! :) But because we COULD NOT keep even a small list of Ten Commandments, and because we COULD NOT fully understand God through a list, He gave us a bunch of object lessons in the histories of His people, so that we might know him better. When we get to Hebrews 11, the so-called “roll-call of faith,” we will see specifics.

But even with the great examples of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, etc., it wasn’t until His Son came that we were finally able to clearly see the full character of God. That’s what the writer of Hebrews tells us in the first verse of his letter:

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets.  And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. . . (Hebrews 1:1 NLT)

Jesus is superior to all previous prophets and messengers, because He IS the message! As fully God and fully man, He was the only one qualified to bridge that gap between God and man. Look at how the author of Hebrews describes the superiority of Jesus:

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,  has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;  who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,  having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (Hebrews 1:1-4 NKJV)

As the only Son, Jesus is the inheritor of ALL things. Not only that, but He is the Creator of all things. John reiterates this in the beginning of His gospel:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3 NKJV)

The author of Hebrews further insists that Jesus is the spitting image of His Father:

The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God. . . (vs. 3 NLT)

When you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father (John14:9-11). Jesus is not just another man reflecting God’s glory - He radiates God’s glory because He is God. He doesn’t just reflect the light, He IS the light. Our goal is to reflect that light, in the same way that the moon reflects the light of the sun.

Before we move into the rest of this chapter, we will spend one more day focusing on the implications of the last part of verse 3: . . . and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. (NLT)

Can’t wait to dig into that!  

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