“He (Jesus) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of God’s nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power.”1
Jesus described Himself as “the light of the world,”2 but have you ever contemplated what that means? Jesus is the radiant brilliance of the Father that shines into our lives, manifesting the love and nature of God, illumining our way to the Father so that we can experience and ultimately come to understand who God is.
John 1 says that “In Him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of men.”3 We couldn’t live without physical light that nourishes our bodies and the physical world around us. Likewise, without the spiritual light of God who is the source of all life, we would be spiritually lost and in “the shadow of death.” The Bible says concerning Jesus, “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”4
When Jesus came to earth, He brought us the spiritual life of God that frees those who receive it, delivering them from death.5 That’s the essence of what salvation is: God sent His light to us, which is the source of eternal life, and when we take Jesus into our lives, we start to be filled with the brightness and life of God.
And Jesus is more than just the light, as incomprehensibly amazing as that is. He is also the imprint of God’s nature.
An imprint is a mark that identifies the maker, and God’s imprint in Jesus is the nature of God Himself. Jesus manifested God the Father’s nature through all He said and did. He presented God in a way that we, His human creations, could understand. As we look at Jesus and His life, we see glimpses of the very nature of God, the love of God, the expectations of God for us, and the mercy, forgiveness, and compassion of our God who has given us so much more than we could ask or imagine.6
We see a God who will face even the greatest of sacrifices for the results they will bring,7 who cares enough to seek out the lost and patiently guide them into His arms.8
We see God’s nature in every miracle, in every word of forgiveness and hope Jesus spoke, and in His love that sees the good and possibilities, even when we’re at our worst. We see the tender gentleness as well as the fury against evil. Best of all, we see the way that God’s imprint on us can cause His light to shine out of our lives too and illumine others.9
God’s radiance, Jesus, came into this world in such a small form: as a baby in a stable. So few even took notice. Yet He became the greatest thing that ever happened, providing salvation for all who would accept Him. As we grow closer to Jesus, we can increasingly radiate God’s Spirit in this life and ultimately throughout the universe and eternity.
When we look at ourselves, we probably don’t see the brilliance of God’s imprint. But then how many could have imagined what would come from a struggling woman and her poor husband for whom everything seemed to be going so terribly wrong? Having to leave their home behind, not knowing where she would deliver her baby. Having to give birth among the animals, laying her newborn son in a feed trough. Who would have imagined that such a troubled and seemingly “unblessed” beginning for that tiny new life would usher in the radiant imprint of God’s life and glory and sovereignty for all to see?
So if you feel like things have gone wrong in your life and are looking pretty bleak right now, you can still rejoice. If you have Jesus in your life, even the smallest space holds the potential for glorious things.
That’s cause to face your day with a smile, because through the radiance of God’s nature made flesh for you, your future couldn’t be more wonderful.
“As the print of the seal on the wax is the express image of the seal itself, so Christ is the express image—the perfect representation—of God.”—St. Ambrose (c. 340–397)
“The dying Jesus is the evidence of God’s anger toward sin; but the living Jesus is the proof of God’s love and forgiveness.”—Lorenz Eifert