Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature. Says so right there in Hebrews 1. Jesus shines with glory. Men can be glorious, and when they get close to god especially so. Did you know that the Buddha emitted a light from between his eyebrows, manifesting signs that are rarely seen? Many great men have healed, many have raised people from the dead.
But Jesus is special, right? Jesus is a son of God. We might even say the son of God. And he lived a perfect life. Imagine that. A man who did what the gods required and accomplished it without blemish, and told us how we can do it too. If Jesus were the man who was most like God, that would be life-changing. Jesus changes lives. Jesus is worth following. Jesus is worth imitating.
Men have been the sons of God before. If Jesus is our role-model, that is all he will ever be to us: an example.
|Awww....buddies! They're, like, both great teachers.|
Jesus is not a son of God like the other sons of God had been. He is not Adam, or Israel, or David. He is is not Caesar Augustus or Akhenaten or the Sons of Hadad. He is not only the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, but he also upholds the universe by the word of his power. Through him was the world created. Says so right there in Hebrews 1. He is a son of God who is God. And he was not made God, or made one with God, or whatever. He is God from always.
When we proclaim a gospel of personal salvation, we begin to reduce Jesus. We make him a man to follow (a thing which we should do, btw). We make him a light to face. We make him a model to imitate. Buddha is those things too. This Jesus of personal salvation is the Jesus who changes lives, and we must be careful about making that the Gospel.
Jesus does more than change lives. He made a new world when he rose from the dead. In the beginning he was there, and all things were made through him, without him was not any thing made that was made. He made the cosmos, and Adam unmade it. Then he came 2,000 years ago and remade it, and even now is remaking it.
The Gospel is life-changing because the world is changed. The Gospel is cosmic because Jesus is God. Not just like God, or the image of God, or the imprint of God. Not only a holy man. He is those things, but before all that he is the one true God come to earth.
Jesus saves is true. But Jesus reigns is Gospel.
Jesus doesn't only change lives. He changes the world. The world is new. The Gospel is a thing that affects all people whether they accept it or not. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. The City is descending. The question the Gospel asks is not "what will you do with the example of Jesus?" It is "what will you do about Jesus' world?"