By: Nathan Fox
Last week I spoke about the message of redemption from our sins through the blood of Jesus. In last week’s blog, I spoke as openly as I could about the Gospel and the way that it changes lives. I spoke of Jesus’ persecution and pain for the forgiveness of our sins. This week, the topic remains Jesus, but it turns to His superiority. It is true that He shed his blood, but what makes His blood so worthy to be shed on our behalf? What makes Him so different that the entire crux of the Christian faith rests squarely on His shoulders? What makes Jesus the one that delivered us? Paul turns to answering these questions in Colossians 1:15-20, and it is there that we will focus our attention
Christ is God
Colossians 1:15 says this: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Look at the first part of that verse. In the first clause of this verse, Paul makes the argument that God could be seen in the fleshly body of Jesus. God Himself became incarnate, and dwelled among us as a human being through the man of Jesus Christ. Jesus is God, and it is there that He gains His superiority to die for us. Now, we must also be careful here as we dissect this verse. It is easy to conclude by looking at the end of this verse that Christ is the first creation. This is not only wrong, but extremely heretical and dangerous. Christ was not created, but has always been (after all, He is God). We can easily refute that train of thinking. First of all, the Bible outside of this verse doesn’t lead us to any assumption that Jesus was created. And if the whole of the Bible claims Jesus to be God, then one verse shouldn’t easily persuade that He is not. Secondly, Paul’s mentioning of Him as the “firstborn over creation” is not a question of His origin, but rather an assertion of His position. He is the King of all creation, not because He was created first, but because He created everything. If Jesus is God, and Jesus created everything, then we can see that the shedding of His blood is sufficient for the covering of our sins.
Christ Controls Everything
Piggybacking off of his earlier assertion that Jesus was the creator of the world, Paul leaves no doubt in verses 16-17 when he says this: “For by Him (Jesus) all things were created that are in Heaven and that are on earth, visible, and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Paul makes it very clear in this verse that Christ is not only the creator of all natural things, but He dictates the course of all of human history. Also take note of how many times Paul says the word “all” in these two verses (four times!). Paul makes his point very clear: Jesus is Lord and master over every single thing in this world. According to my professor here at Liberty the word all can be defined as this: “all means all and that’s all all means.” It sounds like a ridiculous definition, but the point definitely gets across. Christ controls all things, and there is not a single thing that has happened in this world that He did not allow to happen. Christ is in complete control, and in there we have another glimpse of how worthy He is to have taken our sins upon His shoulders.
Christ is the Head of the Church
Paul persists on claiming Christ’s superiority as He turns to verse 18 of Colossians 1. Take a look at it as it says this: “And He (Christ) is the head of the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have preeminence.” Here I face a very sobering (yet exciting) truth as I pursue ministry in the local church: the church belongs to Jesus. He is the very foundation of the church, the very core of what we believe. He controls the church and owns the church, because He died for the church. He died, but He resurrected (“firstborn from the dead”), and in that He has authority over all things that the church does. May we be motivated by our head, our leader, our Savior! May we remember that He is the king of all things, and we are just mere tools in His grand plan. Because God incarnate, controller of the universe, came to die and to rise again, we are able to say that His blood was the only blood that could have ever been shed on our behalf.
Coming Full Circle
Read Colossians 1:19-20 and you will see that the qualities of Christ that I listed above have enormous ramifications on why it was only He that could shed His blood to redeem us. It says this in those two verses: “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Because we have seen that Jesus is God, because we have seen that He is creator of all things and holds all things together, because we have seen that He is the one who controls all the course of human history, and because we have seen that He is the head of the church due to His power over death, now we can see that only His blood was sufficient to make peace on our behalf. He alone is worthy of the honor and glory for that death and that resurrection. Only God Himself could have come to this earth and pulled that off. What a redeemer we have! He is so powerful, so wonderful, and yet, so intimate with His children. That’s why I love my Jesus.