Colossians & Philemonby Mike Raiter
When a celebrity was asked about what he thought of Jesus, he replied, “A pretty good bloke.” The banality of that response is astonishing. But even a reply like “a good, moral teacher” is hopelessly inadequate. In some parts of today’s world, secularism is triumphing. In other places, millions follow the teachings of those who claim to speak for God. Christians can therefore be tempted to lose heart, or to wonder if what we believe is just one among many equally-valid, competing truths.
The church in Colossae was a tiny body in an enormous empire. In a world of many gods, the gospel appeared to be just one more barely-distinct voice. Paul is writing to bolster the faith of this small group of believers. His prayer for them now morphs into a hymn of praise to the omnipotent Christ.
Look again at how often the word “all” appears in Colossians 1:15–20: Jesus is “the firstborn over all creation. 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. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things”. You see Paul’s point: since everything is in Jesus, if you have Jesus, you have everything.
Paul begins by reminding us that every creature on earth was made by and for Jesus—from the toad to the camel, and from the shark to the starling. Every human being, from paupers to presidents, including you and me, exist for the glory of Jesus. We were given the breath of life to serve Him in this world; and we were given a new breath—the breath of the Holy Spirit—to empower us to live for Him.
Jesus is not just one other “god”or guru; He is the only God and Lord.
What is it about the society in which you live that unsettles your faith? How are Paul’s words here a remedy for that?
Who were the thrones, powers, rulers, and authorities of Paul’s day that were created for Jesus? How can we see today’s rulers, good or bad, serving that same purpose?