Colossians 1.15-20 is a crucial statement of faith about Jesus. When we think about who Jesus is, we can all declare that Jesus is all that we need.
Colossians 1.17-19 – He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.
Consider the Universe
Take a few minutes and look at pictures from the James Webb telescope. It provides never before seen images of galaxies that are billions of light years from earth.
Match those images with the fact that “in [Jesus] all things hold together” (verse 17).
Rudy Ross comments in today’s YouTube video about how he marvels and worships Jesus, who causes our vast universe to work perfectly and in order.
I responded to Rudy’s statement with a confession of my own. I ask why I believe Jesus is powerful enough to hold the universe together, but I am so easily willing to disobey his guidance.
My reaction to Rudy’s thoughts reflects my need, and possibly that of others too, for a more mature faith.
Worship, prayer, and obedience should be the result of knowing that everything in the universe is held together by Jesus’ power.
If our lives are part of what Jesus is holding in his perfect will, then we should take heart. We need not be afraid and suffer from worry when we know that Jesus is in control.
The Head of the Body
I have been part of numerous church squabbles during my 50-plus years as a pastor. Disagreements and resentments in the church occur most often when people put their self-interest above that of others.
I have been blessed to witness significant contributions by the church in various communities. When the church recognizes that “[Jesus] is the head of the body, the church” (verse 18), she is free to achieve all Jesus has for her.
I have served churches in five communities. By God’s grace, we were able to accomplish ministry that brought glory to God. It occurred when we put aside personal preferences and surrendered the direction of the church to the head, Jesus Christ.
If Jesus holds all things in the universe together, it makes sense for the church to give him “first place in everything” (verse 18). Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Please join me in praying that the church recognizes Jesus’ rightful place, which is nothing less than “first place.”
The Fullness of God
Gnosticism became a full-blown philosophy in the second century. It was beginning to show its influence in the first century and was addressed in some letters by Paul and John.
Gnosticism taught that the fullness of God resided in a spiritual realm that had no contact with the physical.
As the spiritual realm got further from the pure spirit of God’s fullness, the physical world occurred.
Since Jesus had a physical body, Christians who were influenced by Gnosticism, had to find a way to explain his nature. The early church councils, such as the Council of Nicea (see yesterday’s article) met to combat Gnostic heresies.
If you’ve ever read the expression, “God is at the top of the mountain and there are many pathways to the top,” you will have a flavor of Gnosticism today.
Paul made it clear that Jesus is not one of many paths to God, but “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (verse 19).
“Fullness” is the key word. In Gnostic thought, “fullness” described the realm of God, the realm of pure spirit.
Paul taught that the “fullness of God” dwelt in Jesus, who walked the earth in a human body. This was a powerful argument against Gnostic thought.
In today’s world, it declares the truth of what Jesus taught his followers.
He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14.6).
Philip responded to Jesus and said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied” (John 14.8).
Jesus revealed to Philip and the other disciples that if they had seen him, they had seen the Father.
— John 14.9-10 – “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?”
Paul was right when he said, “He is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1.15) and “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1.19).
We do well to meditate on this passage. In every way, Paul’s message about Jesus should increase our faith and obedience.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube today. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. You will appreciate Rudy’s insights.
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