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Look to Jesus

Spend your life’s energies and capacities seeing, savoring (in his Word), and spreading a passion for Jesus Christ.


For one of our family vacations, we went to Estes Park, Colorado, enjoying the beauties of Rocky Mountain National Park. There was a constant refrain coming from my wife and me to our kids: Look at that! When we went to the top of Trail Ridge Road, or hiked Deer Mountain, or enjoyed time in Moraine Valley, or went around Bear Lake, the constant cry was “Look,” “Check that out,” “See what is there.”

Why? Because we can be guilty of missing the beauty that is right in front of us. And second, we understand that beholding beauty can transform who we are, what we value, and how we think and live in the world. God gave us beauty in creation to point us to himself, and this is needful, but he has given us even more specific beauty to gaze at and be transformed by.

We See Christ

2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” If we know Christ, we want to be transformed and increasingly conformed to the image of the Son (Rom. 8:29). But we have not seen Christ with our physical eyes; we behold his glory elsewhere. 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us that there is a need to see “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God,” or, in 4:6, “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

We see Christ in the glories of the gospel, the story of the person and work of Jesus Christ. And the Bible is full of the display of that glory from beginning to end. So we can say with 1 Peter 1:8, “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” Thus, the pathway to Christ-centered transformation is a fight to see and savor Jesus Christ.

Spending your life’s energies and capacities seeing, savoring (in his Word), and spreading a passion for Jesus Christ will result in persevering assurance, joy, and obedience.

We can go anywhere in the Bible to behold the glory of God, but I want to focus on Hebrews 1:1–4, put on display seven examples of Christ’s glory, and then offer specific application.

God has spoken to us in his Son (1:1–2)

All throughout the Old Testament, God spoke through various prophets, whether they be Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, or Jeremiah. These authors spoke of many realities, but all were centered on a coming figure, a king of Israel from the line of Abraham, Judah, and David, who would definitively and decisively crush the serpent. Many promises were made in the Old Testament regarding this messianic figure, and the anticipation was palpable.

Then Jesus of Nazareth came onto the scene. The New Testament offers biographical detail and commentary regarding the person and work of Jesus, the Messiah sent by God to fulfill all the Old Testament prophecies and promises. What God has spoken in and about the Son is continuous with and the climax of his word uttered in earlier times. Thank God that he is there, and he is not silent. He has spoken, and we can know him through his Word.

Jesus Is the Heir of all Things (1:2)

The Father has made the Son the inheritor of the universe (Ps. 2:8). Jesus lived a perfect life and died as a substitute and sacrifice on our behalf so that we might have our sins covered and receive God’s forgiveness by faith. He rose from the grave, and he ascended to the place of authority with the Father. Thus he has already, in essence, been put into this place of authority as the heir of all things.

However, Philippians 2:10–11 tells us that God has highly exalted him and given him the name that is above every name so that when he returns to set up his eternal kingdom every knee will bow in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus will have in subjection to him all that is. What does it mean to listen to a person who in the end will have under his complete control and ownership of all things (all land, all water, all fire, all wind, all energy, all natural resources, all nations, all military might, all bacteria and viruses, all angels, all demons, all people)? Well, it means that he can make good on all his promises. If he says, "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5), then he can make good on that promise, because he will own the earth and have it under his control. If he says, "Nothing in all creation will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:39), then he can make good on that promise because he will own all creation and have it under his control. If he says, "There shall no longer be death or mourning or crying or pain any more" (Rev. 21:4), he can make good on that promise because he will gloriously rule and reign over all things. That is a glorious reality.

Jesus Made the World (1:2)

God the Father created the universe through Jesus Christ (cf., John 1:3; Col. 1:16). Through him all things were made. To create something from nothing is absolutely astonishing.

We “create” things all the time. I have an engineering friend who designs new jet propulsion components. My daughter draws, my son constructs with Legos or sculpts something from Play-doh. One time in my life I “created” a song for my then-fiancée, and it is the one time it will ever happen. But in all of these examples things are made with already existing components.

Jesus as Creator is an amazing display of his power, wisdom, ingenuity, and grace. The triune God was not lonely or needy. Our existence should not be taken for granted but should serve as yet another reason for humility before our great God.

Jesus Is the Radiance of God’s Glory and the Exact Representation of His Nature (1:3)

This is the centerpiece of the descriptions of Jesus. If you want to know the glory and the moral beauty of God the Father, read Scripture and behold the person of Jesus because he's the radiance (the streaming out, the effulgence) of the glory of God. Thus, Jesus can say, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).

The Book of Hebrews demonstrates how Jesus reveals the very person and presence of God, because Jesus is God and of one substance with the Father.

Jesus is not some hippie Galilean peasant or merely a nice teacher or a legend or some person who had delusions of messiahship. He is God. He is the radiance of the glory of God, the manifestation of who God is. We don’t just appreciate or say nice things about Jesus, we bow down and worship.

Jesus Upholds all Things by the Word of His Power (1:3a)

Jesus is creator and sustainer. In him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:25). I recall bringing my first child home. As the youngest of my family and not being exposed to many babies, I was amazed at how helpless they are. They are so dependent for their needs, and this should remind us of how Christ sustains us.

So every day, Jesus is infinitely powerful. He is speaking all the Milky Way and all the other galaxies into being, as well as all the molecules and all the materials of this church building. He's holding our hair and skin and lungs and tissue and fingernails and cells in being right now. If he were to stop willing you into being, you would cease to be. That's how dependent you are on this person. And one of the biggest ways we can acknowledge this is prayer.

Jesus Made Purification for Sins and Sat Down in Majesty (1:3b)

This phrase points out that Jesus’ atoning sacrifice was not insufficient; it accomplished all he set out to do. Salvation was purchased for us as sinners by his work. A perfect Lamb was sacrificed on the cross. The wrath of God was poured out on Christ. He who knew no sin became sin so that by faith in Christ as Lord, Savior, and Treasure, we might become the righteousness of God in Christ.

I remember being at a camp at 17-years-old, with all the foundation of my parent’s teaching and my church’s instruction, really seeing the glory of Christ in the gospel and thoroughly rejoicing in it, loving him for who he is and all that he has done.

The seating is an enthronement. He is the king of the universe. He's at the right hand of God the Father and he reigns over all government. He reigns over the devil. He reigns over weather. He reigns over heart attacks and cancer and Parkinson's disease. He reigns today and he will someday set all things right.

Pray for God to open the eyes of your heart to see this reality and love him. And we trust him, through good and bad.

Jesus Is Superior to Angels (1:4)

Angels often appear as impressive figures in the Bible before whom people tremble. But the remainder of chapter one demonstrates Jesus’ superiority: He is God’s Son (1:5), he is worthy of the worship of angels (1:6), and the Father has anointed him for an everlasting kingdom (1:8–13).


All of this is true, therefore we must look to Jesus. Hebrews 2:1 says “we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard [about Jesus].” Hebrews 3:1 says “consider Jesus,” an ongoing activity. Hebrews 12:1–3 tells us to “look to Jesus” and again to “consider him.” These commands are like saying “Listen to your favorite song again,” or “Watch your favorite movie again.” Consider them, think about them, enjoy them. It is not an onerous command. Jesus is infinitely better than any song or movie you could name.

The call is to continually and constantly look to him, pay close attention to him, consider him. And we do this preeminently by being in his Word. Luke 24:27, 44 tell us the whole Bible, Old Testament and New Testament, is about Jesus. We must be a Psalm 1 people who delight in his Word and meditate on it day and night.

But we don’t do it merely out of duty. We look for glory to delight in God. Pray to see the glory of Christ in his Word, behold Christ so as to be transformed (2 Cor. 3:18–4:6), and let that sight of glory lead you into further prayer, confession, praise, and living in a way that is continually and progressively conforming to the image of the Son (Rom. 8:28–29).

Beholding the glory of Christ progressively frees you from the bondage of sin for the sacrifices of love. Whether you struggle with impatience, pride, misplaced shame, anxiety, lust, covetousness, bitterness, or despondency, the answer is continually looking to Jesus and living by faith in his accomplished work. This also provides assurance and joy.

We must recognize our desperate need for Christ each day (John 15:5), recognize that the Spirit dwells in us, live out our identity as members of the new covenant with new hearts empowered to love and obey God, and trust in the irrevocable promises of God in Scripture (all in community).

Faith in God and his grace in the gospel embraced in this kind of way will progressively renew your mind; free you from the clutches of sin; help you to put on right character; love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; love your neighbor as yourself; and be a catalyst in the lives of others to see Christ and savor him. Spend your life’s energies and capacities seeing, savoring, and spreading a passion for Jesus Christ will result in persevering assurance, joy, and obedience.

Jeremy Kimble is Assistant Professor of Theology at Cedarville University and the author of '40 Questions About Church Membership and Discipline' (Kregel, 2017).

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