The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God – Hebrews 1:3
1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.
David Matheson of Carleton University, in an article entitled “Knowing Persons,” offered an answer to the question, What’s the difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone? He distinguished two types of knowing: impersonal knowledge and personal knowledge (Matheson, D. (2010). Knowing Persons. Dialogue Journal).
What is the difference? Impersonal knowledge is knowing about someone, while personal knowledge is experientially knowing someone. To know someone experientially requires what has been dubbed a “communication event” (Matheson).
As we have “communication events” with people, we get to know them. We become aware of unique aspects of their personalities. We become aware of their temperament, their nature and disposition, their likes and dislikes. We can often anticipate how they are going to respond. We find out what kind of a person they are.
Have you ever asked yourself what kind of a person is the Father?
This question may be somewhat surprising. Because normally Christians when they think of the Father, we think of the attributes of God rather than the personality of God. The attributes of God involve His divine characteristics. He is eternal, holy, good, just, righteous, all-powerful, all-knowing, and infinite.
But what is the Father’s personality like?
When we consider an individual’s personality, we ask: are they friendly, warm, kind, gentle; are they smart, funny, serious, wise; are they brave, protective, nurturing and the like.
How can we know what the Father’s personality is really like? What kind of a person is He?
Jesus came to reveal the personality of the Father. He and the Father share the same personal characteristics. They are two separate persons which share the same essence.
When we hear Jesus, we hear God. When we observe Jesus, we observe God. If we ever want to know what God is like or how He might act or where He might go, all we have to do is watch Jesus (Stanley).
Hebrews 1:3 He is . . . the exact representation of His nature,
The Greek term translated exact representation is character. It was used of a mark or impression placed on an object, especially on coins, and came to signify a “representation” or “reproduction.”
In Greek, character means two things – first, a seal, and, second, the impression that the seal leaves on the wax. The impression has the exact form of the seal. So, when the writer to the Hebrews said that Jesus was the character of the being of God, he meant that He was the exact image of God. Just as, when you look at the impression, you see exactly what the seal which made it is like, so when you look at Jesus you see exactly what God is like (Barclay).
Using very inadequate human terms, the Father has stamped or imprinted His being, on His Son. The Son of God bears “the very stamp of . . . [God’s] nature” (RSV).
The Greek term translated nature is hypostasis, which means the nature, quality, substance, the essence of something. In this passage, hypostasis refers to the very essence or being of God the Father.
The Son is the exact representation, the embodiment of God the Father as He really is. His being is made manifest in Christ, so that to see the Son is to see what the Father is like (O’Brien).
When we get to know the Son experientially; we get to know the Father.
REFLECT & PRAY
The personality of the Father is revealed in the Scriptures. It is observed and known in the life, emotions, and actions of His Son.
Father please help me to come to know You as a person, to become warm and close to You, and fall deeply in love with You.
Sometimes we miss obvious things that are right in front of us because we are not paying attention. It seems as though it is part of human DNA. So it was with the apostle Philip.
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.
7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’”
The story is told of a man who visited his doctor to have his hearing checked. The doctor removed the man’s hearing aid, and the patient’s hearing immediately improved! He had been wearing the device in the wrong ear for over 20 years!
There is a difference between listening and really hearing, Jesus often cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” This statement suggests that it takes more than physical ears to hear the voice of God. It also requires a receptive heart. Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts (Hebrews 3:7-8) (Wiersbe).
Philip’s request shows that he has not yet understood the point of Jesus’ coming. Philip had not grasped that the Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, came to reveal the Father.
John 1:18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
For children of the King, our close, intimate fellowship with the Father, through His Son, is our “communication event.” That is how we get to know Him as a person. The more we know Him, the more we love Him.