Hebrews 1:3 (ESV) offers a profound and powerful depiction of Jesus Christ: “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.”
Radiance of Glory
The verse begins by declaring that Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory. Just as the sun’s rays illuminate the earth, Jesus is the illumination of God’s glorious presence. In the Gospel of John, we read that Jesus came to reveal God to us: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:18, ESV).
Exact Imprint of His Nature
The passage further explains that Jesus is the “exact imprint of his nature.” This means that Jesus is the perfect representation of God’s essence or being. He is God incarnate – God in human form (John 1:14, ESV). This is a fundamental Christian belief, emphasizing the deity of Christ.
Upholding the Universe
The verse also highlights the sovereign power of Jesus. It tells us that he upholds the universe by the word of his power. This is echoed in Colossians 1:17 (ESV), where Paul says of Jesus, “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Jesus is not only the Creator but the Sustainer of all things.
Making Purification for Sins
Hebrews 1:3 (ESV) further affirms the work of Christ in making purification for sins. Jesus accomplished this through His sacrificial death on the cross, taking upon Himself the punishment we deserved (Romans 3:23-25, ESV). This purification was not temporary or partial but complete, making a way for us to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-19, ESV).
Seated at the Right Hand of God
After making purification for sins, Jesus “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” In biblical times, to sit at the right hand of a king was to hold a place of honor and authority (Psalm 110:1, ESV). In sitting down, Jesus’ work of redemption was complete. Now, He reigns with all authority (Matthew 28:18, ESV), interceding for us (Romans 8:34, ESV).
In conclusion, Hebrews 1:3 presents a holistic view of Jesus, declaring His divinity, His role in sustaining the universe, His redemptive work, and His authority. As we reflect on this verse, let’s be encouraged to know, trust, and worship Jesus, who perfectly reveals God to us, reigns with all authority, and has made a way for us to be reconciled to God.