The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of God’s being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:3
When it comes time to handle persecution and hardship, the Bible tells us that our only hope is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ. We learn in Hebrews 1:1-3 that Jesus is the ultimate revelation of truth, and we can see in today’s verse the very highest language in the Bible about the nature of Jesus Christ himself.
Jesus is the transcendent and uncreated God of the Universe. He is the creator and sustainer of all that exists. Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory. In the Old Testament, when Moses is bringing the children of Israel out of captivity in Egypt the radiance of God’s glory appears as a fiery pillar at night and in daytime it looks more like a cloud with fire in it. It is so awesome and so powerful that when the Egyptian army is after the children of Israel, the fiery cloud stops the Egyptian army, and they can’t get past it.
Later it leads the children of Israel through the wilderness and when it comes down on Mt. Sinai there is thunder and lighting, and no one can even touch the mountain, or they’ll die. Years later, when the temple is dedicated under King Solomon, down comes the glory cloud—the fiery cloud—and it comes into the temple and anyone near cannot even stand on their feet and they fall to the ground.
What is that fiery cloud? It is the radiance of God’s glory. One pastor describes it as God in a form we can see that expresses his brilliance, his beauty, his infinite overwhelming shattering greatness and importance…Now in Hebrews we see that Jesus is the ultimate way in which God appears. Jesus is fully God and fully human. He took on human flesh, but He is still the glory of God. He is still the exact representation of God’s being—God’s substance—the brightness of which will burn your eyes and destroy you instantly. But in Jesus Christ this is God’s glory in a form you can relate to. When you fix your eyes on Jesus, He doesn’t burn you, He changes you. You can have a relationship with Him…you can have a transformation. You can relate to God in human form.
Jesus is aware of who He is. Are we? N.T. Wright put it this way, “How can you live with the terrifying thought that the hurricane has become human, that the fire has become flesh, that Life itself has walked into our midst? Christianity either means that or it means nothing. It is either the most devastating disclosure of the deepest reality in the world or it is a sham, a total nonsense. Most people, unable to cope with saying either of those two things, are condemned to live in the shallow world in between.”