Daily Update #345

Today’s reading:

Pause: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”   Psalm 19 : 1

Reading: Colossians 1 : 15-17
15: The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 
16: For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 
17: He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

As Sarah mentioned when she opened our look at this letter of Paul’s, one of the reasons for his writing was to counter some false beliefs which were creeping in to the Colossian Church.  Although Paul doesn’t address these errors specifically, it is clear from reading the letter that things like angel worship, a belief in secret knowledge, and reliance on tradition were among the problems.  It is also possible that some were beginning to doubt, or perhaps even teach, that Jesus was not really divine, the only Son of God, but that he was just a great man and a good teacher.  Sadly, there are those today within the Christian church who also hold this view, denying the divinity of Jesus, denying the virgin birth, denying the bodily Ascension of Jesus returning to his Father.  In the three verses we are considering today Paul reveals that he is absolutely clear about who Jesus is, and he wants his readers to be clear also.
Firstly, in verse 15, Paul writes that Jesus is the image of the invisible God.  The Greek word that Paul uses here for image is “eikon”, which can mean a reflection but, more importantly, means that God was fully revealed in Jesus.  As Jesus himself said, in John 10 v 30, “I and the Father are one,” and then in John14 v 9, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”  Secondly, Paul writes of Jesus as the firstborn over all creation, not a part of creation but the one through whom and by whom all things were created.  Again, as Jesus himself said in John 8 v 58, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am.”  Jesus was there, at the very beginning, with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
In verse 16 Paul then writes of the supremacy of Jesus.  As I said at the start, this may have been to counter those who were advocating the worship of angels and heavenly beings.  Jesus is the author of all creation, whether visible or invisible, in the earthly realms or the heavenly realms; everything was made through him and for him.  We often sing of Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and these titles rightly declare his supremacy.  The truly amazing thing about this for us today is that this King of Kings and Lord of Lords went to a cross around 2000 years ago in order to bring us into his kingdom.  As Ian shared yesterday, through the cross God has transferred us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light; we truly are loved by this wonderful God who has redeemed us and forgiven us our sins.
Then, in verse 17, Paul writes of the role of King Jesus now, at the right hand of his Father in heaven.  He was the author of creation, and now he is the one who holds it all together.  This seems a strange thing to say when we look at the mess that the world is in now, with global warming, the pandemic, and other problems upsetting the balance of life on earth.  But we need to remember that the Fall not only broke our relationship with God, it also broke the perfection of creation.  I sometimes wonder how much worse things would be if the Lord was not still in charge!
It has been suggested that these verses that we have thought about today, together with the next four, were used as a Hymn or a Psalm by the early church.  We have no way of proving this, but they certainly are worth us spending time reading them and thinking about them.  We have a wonderful Saviour Jesus, Creator and Redeemer; we have an amazing Father God who loves us beyond measure and who gave his beloved Son to restore us into his family; and we have a powerful Holy Spirit who lives with us and in us to lead us on in our walk of faith.
King of Kings, Majesty, God of Heaven living in me;
Gentle Saviour, closest friend, Strong Deliverer, beginning and end;
All within me falls at your throne.
Your Majesty, I can but bow, I lay my all before you now.
In royal robes I don’t deserve, I live to serve Your Majesty.
                                                                                                Jarrod Cooper


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