The Son Himself Speaks and Acts For Us - Christmas Day
Rev. Charles Westby, Pastor
Hebrews 1:1-3
December 25, 2020

Through Advent, we pursued a theme of how God had announced the coming of the Christ down through the ages through the prophets. Then God sent John the Baptist to proclaim that the Christ was on the scene. The coming One had come. Today we rejoice in being able to say not only that Christ has come, but that He Himself speaks. The reading from Hebrews states: At many times and in various ways, God spoke to His people in the past through the prophets. But now in these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:2).

It is a profound blessing that the Son Himself speaks. This is because no one has ever seen God, as the Spirit through the Apostle John tells us (John 1:18). God must come to us to be seen, to be known. We rejoice today that in grace, He has done this in the most wonderful way. The Son has been made a man to speak in person with us and to act for us.

In His Gospel, the Apostle John by the Spirit tells us about the Word. How the Word was in the beginning with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). Being with God, the Word was distinct from God the Father. Yet, the Word was God, one with God the Father.

John says that the Word was in the beginning (John 1:1). Being God, the Word had the same relationship to the beginning as God had. So the Word existed from everlasting before all created things, just as God has so existed.  

But what about this word “word?” What can we say about it? How about this. Of all the things we could think of, the word “word” suggests communication, and in communication, it suggests fellowship, getting to know. The word “word” also suggests disclosure, disclosure of one’s will, one’s thoughts, one’s intentions. The word “word” also then embraces the speaking of grace and mercy, and the making of promise and the giving of gifts.

Calling the Son Word does these things for us. It is important with respect to disclosure, because no one has ever seen God. But the Son discloses Him. So when we have Jesus, we know God and have fellowship with God.

The word “word” also suggests action and the bringing into being what did not previously exist. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. How did God do that? God spoke, and it was so (Genesis 1:1, 3). In this same vein, we could recall Jesus standing one day at the grave of his friend Lazarus. Jesus spoke, as the Word: “Lazarus, come out of there” (John 11:43). And Lazarus did. Jesus spoke, and Lazarus came back to life. Word involves action, and God acts through His Word.

So the Spirit using the word “word” as a name for the Son provides a rich and wonderful way of teaching us about who the Son is for us. The Son discloses God and teaches us and creates faith (Romans 10:17). The Word acts on our behalf, creating anew, redeeming us in an eternal redemption, speaking words of promise and eternal life.

But now calling the Son Word does something even more wonderful. It tells us that the Son does not speak the word of God as if speaking it through somebody else, like with the prophets. No. The Son speaks the Word of God as God Himself speaking. He speaks God’s Word out of His own being. It is as Hebrews tells us, the Son is the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of His nature. He upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:1-2).

And now an even more wonderful thing has happened. The Son has become flesh to come to us (John 1:14). The Father has devised the most wonderful way of speaking to us to establish fellowship, to disclose His mind and heart to us, to act for us in redemption. He determined in His grace and love that His Son should be made like the beloved creation that the Father wants to redeem and commune with. This creation being us humans. So God sent the Son to be made flesh, to be made like us. This is such a personal and gracious thing God has done to come to us, and He has done it. And we celebrate it today.

Coming back to the reading from Hebrews. It talks about the Son as the radiance of God’s glory, the exact imprint of His nature, as upholding all things by the power of His word. The Son speaks God’s word because the Son is God. Then it talks about the Son sitting down at the right hand of the majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3).

Those phrases may sound like power talk. As such, they seem to sound like the Son is all about the imposition of power. And that might not sound much like good news.

But Hebrews tells us one other important thing about the Son as He was on His way to sitting down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. The Son did not take that seat at God’s right hand until He made purification for sins. He took that seat because of His divine love and grace that manifested itself in our flesh in redeeming action. Hebrews tells us in another place: “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, . . . he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11, 12).

Radiance of God’s glory, exact imprint of God’s nature, upholding the universe by the power of His word, yet, offering Himself as the sacrifice that redeems us, shedding his own blood. It is profound enough to talk about God the Son taking on flesh and blood. It is even more profound and worthy of praise that He shed that blood for our sake.

It is in this that we see the exact imprint of God’s nature, for we see the heart of that nature, that God is love. For the Son does not redeem us by power, but by atoning sacrifice, which He was glad to make.

But having made purification for sins, He now does occupy the place of almighty power, exercised for the sake of the Gospel, able to bring all of His people to the glory He has prepared for them; able to ensure the promise that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:39); nothing can snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28).  

And so He comes today to us from his seat of almighty power, yet still incarnate, always incarnate. As Word He speaks, as He spoke at the beginning, as He spoke when He came in the flesh, as He will speak on the last Day, which will be the beginning of the New Day. And He comes to us today as He speaks to give us the fruit of His redeeming sacrifice, to commune with us once again in a most profound way, in an incarnational way. He says, “[T]his is my body, given for you; this is my blood of the covenant shed for you, to accomplish forgiveness.” And so it is and so we receive. He gives these for us now, because He gave them on the cross then, for our forgiveness and promise of life. He gives them now by His Word, as He is the Word, and by His Word we have what they say, His body and blood, and the promise they give, forgiveness and life.

What a day for rejoicing in what God has done. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we behold His glory, glory of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Thanks be to God for the marvelous things He has done and continues to do for us in our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


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