From Colossians 1-4
If you see Jesus you see God. Jesus has leadership over all creation. Jesus is the creator of all things. Nothing came before Jesus. If Jesus did in not exist everything would fly apart. Jesus is the ultimate authority of all believers everywhere. Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead with an indestructible body. Where Jesus is located, there is God in all his fullness.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Today’s passage caught my attention for two reasons. It says that believers can please God and it describes Jesus in ways that impact on our understanding of the Trinity. To this point Paul has introduced himself and greeted his listeners. He then begins telling them how he gives thanks for them in his prayers. This is where we start.
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Col 1.9-10)
We should learn to imitate Paul in his prayers. He prays for knowledge of Gods will (helpful in the first century if one didn’t use the Jewish law to instruct Gentiles in ethics) wisdom and understanding. In those times they relied a fair amount on the Spirit. Paul also prays that they walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him and bearing fruit in good works. One thing about Paul, he can be quite optimistic when it comes to how believers will behave.
11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (Col 1.11-12)
Paul continues praying for their strength. Quite often he speaks about the power that raised Jesus from the dead also working in believers. The goal of his prayer here is that the believers may endure and persevere. The Father has qualified believers to share the inheritance he has prepared for us. Its nice to know God has done so.
13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1.13-14)
When someone hears the gospel and comes to believe, putting their trust in Jesus and recognising him as saviour and Lord I believe they are justified. This verse speaks about how I understand this first kind of justification in the believers life. They are transferred from one dominion to another. See Rom 6.7 and the associated ideas of captivity to one dominion (sin) and being freed to live under another (grace). Glorious. But it gets even better – believers have been redeemed and forgiven.
The next few verses may come up with people who struggle with the Trinity. So I thought it might be helpful giving a Trinitarian take on them.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Col 1.15)
If you see Jesus you see God, because Jesus is the image of God. God is invisible, the only way to see God is to look at Jesus. Jesus is the firstborn of all creation. Firstborn here referring to the legal rights of the firstborn (Ps 89.27) over the families leadership, more so than being born first in a series of children. Jesus has leadership over all creation. A key word Paul uses in this passage to remember is ‘all’. Paul says ‘firstborn of all creation’. Does this mean Jesus is a created being? Lets read further.
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Col 1.16)
If ‘all things were created’ by him one cannot say he created himself! Nor could we say Jesus was created and then all things were created by him. Here is where Paul’s use of ‘all’ is interesting. It shows that Jesus has not been created. Rather he is the creator of all things.
17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Col 1.17)
Nothing came before Jesus. If Jesus did in not exist everything would fly apart.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church. (Col 1.18a)
Jesus is the ultimate authority of all believers everywhere.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. (Col 1.18b)
Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead with an indestructible body. Being the first to be raised like this he is in charge of everything.
19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, (Col 1.19)
The tabernacle represented God’s presence among his people. This tabernacle took human form. He walked around, spoke to people, healed, performed miracles, died and rose again. The ‘fullness’ suggests God held nothing back. Fully God, fully man.
- If you see Jesus you see God.
- Jesus has leadership over all creation.
- Jesus is the creator of all things.
- Nothing came before Jesus.
- If Jesus did in not exist everything would fly apart.
- Jesus is the ultimate authority of all believers everywhere.
- Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead with an indestructible body.
- Where Jesus is located, there is God in all his fullness.
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Col 1.20)
Wow. This Jesus bled and died on the cross for us, reconciled us to Himself. Considering who he is, is good we are at peace with him!
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