The Radiant Servant King—Life Application for October 2, 2016

September 25, 2016 No Comments »
The Radiant Servant King—Life Application for October 2, 2016

By David Faust

faustRadiant. Most of us don’t use that word very often. We reserve it for a bride on her wedding day who looks aglow with joy. I have seen radiant faces when excited graduates receive their diplomas on commencement day, and I have recognized radiance in the eyes of young parents when they announce their baby’s birth. I don’t usually see much radiance on ordinary days though. If you’re like me, some days you would settle for a faint glimmer of light. Most of us don’t wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and think, Wow, do I look radiant today!

Yet that word is supremely appropriate when applied to Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:3 says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”


These are profound concepts. Christ exudes the “radiance of God’s glory” and he is the “exact representation” of God’s being. (In the original Greek, the word translated “exact representation” or “express image” is literally the word character.) Christ reveals the character of God. God’s characteristics shine brightly in him. When the Word became flesh, he not only showed the world that God exists, he demonstrated what kind of God exists. Jesus told Philip, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

The book of Hebrews underscores the superiority of Jesus. The word better appears more than a dozen times in the book. Christ is superior to the angels (1:4-14), Moses (3:1-6), Joshua (4:1-16), and Aaron (chapters 8 and 9). He brings a better covenant (8:13), occupies a better tabernacle (9:1-12), and offers a better sacrifice (10:18). Alternative faiths clamor for attention, but Christ has no legitimate rivals. No other religious leader comes close. To Christ alone belongs “the name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).


Remarkably, though, the same book of Hebrews that emphasizes Jesus’ superiority also highlights his accessibility. The Lord who is high and lifted up willingly bends down to meet us on our level.

King Jesus shares fully in the humanity of his subjects. “He had to be made like them, fully human in every way,” and as a result “he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:14-18). He can “empathize with our weaknesses” for he “has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (4:15). Through him we “draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings” (10:22).

One day Jesus invited Peter, James, and John to join him on a mountain hike. On the mountaintop the Lord’s followers received a rare glimpse of heavenly radiance. God pulled back the spiritual veil and they saw Jesus transfigured, so radiant that even his clothes “became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them” (Mark 9:3). Months later, far from the mountaintop, the Lord knelt down in the upper room and washed the feet of those same disciples. That’s the mystery of God at work—the King of kings taking the role of a humble servant.

Yes, the radiance of God appears on rare mountaintop occasions. But more often it shines on ordinary days when someone motivated by love bends down to serve.

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

For evaluation questions that coordinate with today’s article, go to Evaluation Questions in our Bible Study Tools menu.

Daily Readings

Sept. 26


John 1:1-14

Becoming Children of God

Sept. 27


John 1:15-18

Receiving Grace upon Grace

Sept. 28


John 5:24-27

From Death to Life

Sept. 29


Hebrews 1:10-14

Jesus, Superior to the Angels

Sept. 30


Colossians 1:15-20

Jesus Reconciles All Things

Oct. 1


Ephesians 1:3-8a

Jesus, Author of All Spiritual Blessings

Oct. 2


Hebrews 1:1-9

Jesus, Imprint of God’s Very Being

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