29 December 2016

Hebrews 1:1-4

"He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word." (v. 3)

Psalm: Psalm 96:1-6


This Christmas season, we are able to take some time to realise that, through Jesus, God has moved into the neighbourhood. The early Christian leaders spent a long time debating Jesus' humanity and divinity - a debate which was raging long before the 4th-century councils which eventually settled on Jesus' full divinity and full humanity.

This prologue exemplifies this debate, and focuses on the divinity of Jesus. The entire sermon of the book of Hebrews begins what is a lengthy apologetic on the nature of God, the divinity of Christ, and the legitimacy of following Jesus over the requirements of the law. To the original readers of this letter, the writer uses imagery and language which related to their life and experience. There is talk of angels. There are lists of genealogies. There is a focus on the transformative power of the Spirit of God, active and present in our midst.

The writer recognises that God has been speaking throughout human history, but that in Jesus we find a full revelation of God's character. Significantly God not only speaks into the lives of God's chosen people, but also has become human. The very essence of God, God's exact representation, can be found in the person of Jesus. The Contemporary English Version translates this as "God's Son has all the brightness of God's own glory and is like him in every way".

Jesus alone is the definitive disclosure of the nature and being of God. Jesus is higher than the angels. For a moment in our history, God put skin on, lived with us and dwelt amongst us; showing us the power and cost of love. In a world of negative headlines, conflicts, debt, despair and feuding - it is important for us to remember the 'brightness of God's own glory' - which has the power to transform our Black Fridays and Blue Mondays into Red Letter Days.

To Ponder

  • Why did Jesus' divinity matter to the writer?
  • Why does Jesus' divinity matter to us today? And to you?
  • Where do you need Jesus to reveal more of his power in your life today?
  • Find out about Red Letter Christians, and find one thing to do today which brings the brightness of God's glory into the world.

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Joanne Cox-Darling

Joanne Cox-Darling is a Methodist presbyter currently serving in the Wolverhampton Circuit, where most recently she participated in a harvest festival in a farmyard, surrounded by a 'small' dairy herd of nearly 200 cattle. Joanne is the chair of the Christian Enquiries Agency ( - described by the Archbishop of York as the "possibly the easiest form of evangelism you will ever do".