Col 1:15-23 - The answer is always Jesus!

As a child attending Sunday school was a weekly event; as was a bible quiz. I quickly learnt that if I did not know the answer to a question, just say "Jesus" - Why? Because the answer is always Jesus. Over the last five decades across 10 different church communities, I have found that children in the various Sunday clubs or the equivalent, all come to the same conclusion - if in doubt, the answer is always Jesus.

When we look at what the apostle Paul has written in the reading today its easy to see why; Jesus is not one among many, he is supreme. Within this short passage of scripture there are (at least) two key principles identified. First, there is no one else who could do what Jesus did and does. This one who is the image of the invisible God, is the agent of Creation - everything was created by him. (vs 15-16). More than this, everything is held together by him! (vs 17). The significance of who Jesus is gets traction in creation and this is expressed in verse 19; 'For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him'. Jesus the King is the only one who could do what he has and does do because he is in very nature God; redemption of Creation can only be accomplished by God the Creator. The second principle is this; Jesus brings about a most profound, life changing impact for humanity - alienation gives way to reconciliation! Verses 20-23 describe what this reconciliation looks like. The work of Christ Jesus on the Cross, his death and his resurrection (spoken of in vs 18 as the 'firstborn from among the dead') establishes for humanity to way back to God. This is the 'goodness' of Jesus Christ, is what Paul reminds the church in Colossi and by extension into our time and place we are reminded afresh today of this reality; we are reconciled to God through Christ Jesus. Look again at verse 23; we are reconciled to God 'if we continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel'. This hope spoken of here is profound and life changing. One commentator writes "Perseverance for Paul is an attachment to the objective and already inaugurated reality, that God is now ruling in Christ and that this rule is to be embodied in the fellowship of the churches" (McNight, 'The letter to the Colossians').

As you think about the way you live your life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, does this 'hope-filled life' drive you into a life of embodying Jesus so that those around you will come to know of the loving actions of God as he reconciles people to himself? And what might your week look like, if you were to seek to be, like Paul, a servant of this good gospel, so that the communities we live in, are impacted with and by the loving redemptive activity of God at work in us.

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