The Exact Likeness of God (Christmas Day)
[Read Hebrews 1:1-9] “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature……”
The Exact Likeness of God
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature.” The Child born. He is God’s exact likeness. The Child born. He is like a stamp of God stamped in human flesh for us to see who God is. The Child born is the exact imprint of the nature of God. In fact, He is the Lord.
You live in a post-Christian nation. One that was nearly universally Christian, but now that is the past. The present is post-Christian – once was Christian, but now not.
In fact, most of you live in post-Christian families, to a greater or lesser extent. It hangs in the air, the real unspoken reason why so many in the family no longer worship.
We shouldn’t despair that so many no longer know God. Instead, we should put on strength and commit ourselves to the calling of a Christian – called to tell others who this God is.
We live in a post-Christian culture, but not a post-God culture. Everyone still has in their mind an image of who they think God to be. Or, they have in their mind an image of who they think we think God to be. When you say, “God”, what image comes to mind? Who do they think you mean?
This very basic question, “If there is a God, who is He? What is He like?”, is answered on Christmas morning. Christmas gives an answer you are blessed to remember and able to share.
Is God the angry ogre God? Is God an Emperor God? Is God only the glory-God? Is God only a judge-God or a magistrate and nothing else? Is He a distant Creator God, too high and far for us?
Or, on the other hand, Is God only the image of who I’ve now decided God ought to be? Am I ‘woke’, and God is now the image of what I’ve decided is right for God? Do I now get to make God to my own liking, in my own image?
Who is God? We’ve seen Him, and God has made a public display of Himself. The Child-born today is God-exactly. The Child born today is the exact image of God’s nature, stamped in human flesh. You see this Child, you see true God. And this Child-born in the crib is the one who became the Man-dying on the tree.
In Jesus, the God whom we cannot know by the strength of our mind has printed Himself in human flesh so we can look and see and listen and know. In viewing this baby from manger to cross, you see the exact image of who God is truly for you.
In the feeble smallness and gentleness of the newborn Jesus, you see the image of God for you. In the groaning and the dying on the Cross to save guilty and shameful sinners, you see the image of God for you.
And in all the words that belong to this Child – in all the words of His servants, the Prophets and Apostles, and words recorded from His own mouth – in all the words of Holy Scripture, we see also who God is. It’s there that we learn of this Child.
Today Jesus is born. Jesus would later say, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” [John 14:9]. See Jesus in the crib. See Jesus in His mother’s lap. See Jesus teaching in poverty. See Jesus, this Child-grown, dying on the Cross to save those who had so long hated Him.
Jesus-born, the exact likeness of God – “the exact imprint of His nature”.
For those asking, “Who is God?” – and for yourself – know that God is this child in the crib. God is that man on the cross. There He has given us His image and His likeness. Amen.