The Radiance of His Glory: Hebrews 1:3a
“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. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Hebrews‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭
We now come to the statement that “He is the radiance of His glory.” The Greek word “apaugasma” only occurs in Hebrews 1:3 in reference to the person of Jesus Christ meaning effulgence, light, or splendor emitted or issuing from a luminous body. The word usually relates to emitting light as from the sun. In this context, the use of the word indicates that Jesus Christ is the “radiance” or “shining forth” of the glory of God within humanity.
A Jewish reader might be reminded of the Creation story in Genesis one, and that there was light prior to the creation of the sun and moon on the forth day. (See Genesis 1:1-19) We now have evidence that the Son in His role as Creator was the source of that light. By the way, the book of Revelation ends with the same phenomenon in the New Jerusalem. (See Revelation 21:22-27)
It should be observed that the radiance in Hebrews 1:3 is tied to the glory of God. His splendor, majesty and holiness are beyond human comprehension. The only comparison is light itself. So much so that 1 John 1:5 says; “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”
This was a common theme for John. In John 1:4 he notes about Jesus that; “… in Him was light, and the light was the life of men.” But it is verse 14 that ties the incarnation of the Word with the glory of the Father; “… and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
A few verses latter in John 1:18 we have the mission of the Son in the world explained; “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.” Jesus is literally the radiance of the glory of God to the created realm.
But the mission of Jesus related to the glory of God does not stop there. 2 Corinthians 3:18 and 4:4 ties it into the gospel. Satan wants to stop the glorious message of the gospel from saving people and setting them free. He wants to keep people blinded in sin and darkness.
Whenever the Spirit of God illuminates a person to the light of the gospel, He begins a deep redemptive work. At the moment of salvation he transfers people from the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:13)
Included in this redemptive work is the process of changing the new believer from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18) In short order the new believer begins to shine in the world as well. In a very small but significant way the body of Christ is too radiate the glory of God in the world. Transformed believers appear as lights in the world. (See Philippians 2:15)
Do not minimize the role of Jesus Christ as light in this otherwise dark world. To the extent that the church fails to lift up and glorify Jesus Christ, we chose to live in darkness.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global