Many years ago, an Anglican clergyman named J.B. Phillips wrote an interesting little book called Your God Is Too Small. Phillips challenged people to grapple with the reality that God is vastly “larger” than the limited mental, experiential, and spiritual categories with which they often conceive him, approach him, and live from him.
For many, our Jesus is too small. We constrict him within the bounds of our own humanly limited framework. We slot him into nice, neat categories of thought and experience which we can easily comprehend, accept, and control. Thus we can take him in safe, small doses with relatively minor and self-manageable effects on our life – how we view the world, how we behave, what we experience and desire and pursue.
In this book’s opening four verses – a dazzling jewel of compact, sublime expression – the author of Hebrews sweeps aside any possible small approaches to Jesus. The author sets before us a Jesus as absolutely “large” and grand as God himself! The one who was born a little child in a cramped corner of the world, and who walked and talked and sweated and died along with us, is the very radiance or effulgence of God’s glory, the very representation or expression of God’s nature and will in the world. This Jesus, in a mind-stretching mystery of divine power and purpose, sustains all things, including our own lives, in existence. And more, by a supremely stunning act of self-sacrificing love, the same Jesus makes you and me and the entire cosmos right again with God.
Yes, “what a friend we have in Jesus,” as Joseph Scriven exclaimed in his heartfelt, old hymn. Yet, how much more than just a friend he is, and therefore how astonishingly remarkable, even wondrous, it is that he is our friend as well! In return can we give Jesus anything less than our truest, deepest, and greatest devotion and commitment?