The Final Word: Reflections on Hebrew 1.1-4

The letter to the Hebrews is unique among the
documents in the New Testament. It begins like a sermon and ends
like a letter. The writer says it is a “brief” “word of
encouragement” (13:22) but it is long for a
letter from the first century. This sermonic
letter or epistolary sermon, whichever you prefer, has only one
focus: There is a new and living way, and that
way is Jesus. The sermon begins (1.1-4) with strong

In the
in these last
at many times
and in various ways
(at one
he has spoken
to our forefathers through the
in/through/by the

The contrast shouts that God has spoken
a decisive word through the Son. This word, as the sermon will
later develop, should not be ignored, minimized or rationalized
away. This Son, you see, is

  1. Heir of
  2. Creator of
  3. Sustainer of
  4. Brightness of God’s
  5. Image of God
  6. Purifier of
  7. Co-Ruler with God

If this is true, if we believe this, then
it follows that this Son deserves our utmost attention. Two of
these descriptors are particularly noteworthy. First, Jesus is the
radiance of God’s glory.” In the original
language, radiance can be either “glowing” or
“reflecting,” in the way that the moon reflects the sun’s light.
Glowing, in my opinion, is more likely as the Son shares all that
belongs to the Father. Furthermore, he is the “exact representation
of [God’s] being,” or the image of God. Jesus, therefore, is also
everything that God has wished for humans (who are made in the
image of God). Jesus, the Son, bridges heaven and earth thus
providing the new and living way to God. Jesus is God’s decisive
Word. So listen up!


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