Sweet and Viola paint a dynamic, comprehensive, and inspirational portrait of the nature and being of Christ. Speaking of Paul’s reasons for writing to the Colossians about these themes, the authors state:
The Christ that the Colossians knew was simply too small. That was why they became susceptible to chasing after other things – including religious ones – in the first place.
You bet it does! On a personal note, if ever something hit the nail right on the head in terms of my lack of consistent faithfulness, this sums things up pretty well. By not comprehending the truly awesome and magnificent stature of the pre-existent Christ, I chased after all sorts of lesser entities and stumbled down more than a few dark alleys. Believe me when I say that Alice pales in comparison to me when it comes to jumping down rabbit holes in hot pursuit of magical characters with funny hats and big watches. Sweet and Viola continue:
Paul’s goal was to strip away every distraction that was being held before their eyes and have them with nothing but Christ. He dared to displace all rules, regulations, laws, and everything else that religion offers, with a person – the Lord Jesus Himself. As far as Paul was concerned, God hadn’t sent a Ruler of rules, a Regulator of regulations, a Pontiff of pontifications, or a Principal of the principles. He had sent the very embodiment of divine fullness. So, he reasoned, if the Colossians could just get a glimpse of the glories of Christ, He would be enough. The Spirit would electrify their hearts and restore them to a living relationship with the head of the body. So Paul threw down his trump card – The Lord Jesus Christ. He presented a panoramic vision of Jesus that exhausts the minds of mortal men.
I believe one of the most critical tasks facing the contemporary church is reintroducing people to Jesus Christ. With the steady exodus from the organized Christian denominations over the past forty or so years, we now have a situation where at least one generation, and maybe two, have been raised in a culture that is, for the most part, non-Christian. In large measure, many of these folks have either an incomplete or utterly confused image of Jesus.
Before the church can even begin to tackle this crucial goal, however, it must accomplish one critical preliminary task. The church has to reintroduce Jesus to itself. The sad truth is the church is every bit as confused about Jesus’ nature and being as those outside the institution. The silver lining in this tragic situation is as follows: once the church really gets a clear, biblical picture of just what manner of being this Jesus Christ truly is, it will set off a spiritual conflagration that will make previous revivals look like brush fires.
Sweet and Viola state that in the first chapter of Colossians Paul was in “full flight.” The Apostle told his readers that if they truly laid hold of Christ’s real identity they would be able to muster a walk of faith worthy of the Master.
In describing the stature of Christ Paul pulls out all the stops:
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see – such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.
He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. (Colossians 1:15-20 NLT)
This portrait of Christ painted by Paul in the opening chapter of his letter to the Colossians is but one passage of scripture where we encounter the grand nature and being of Jesus Christ. Space does not permit an examination of other passages but at least here we catch a glimpse of the true nature of Christ in his eternal, pre-existent, and cosmic dimensions.
To be continued…….
(c) L.D. Turner 2011/All Rights Reserved
- The Reintroduction of Jesus Christ (Part One) (lifebrook.wordpress.com)
- Colossians chapter 1 (briancoatney.com)
- Making Jesus Your One and Only Inspiration in Life (walkonwater727.wordpress.com)
- Conforming to Christ’s Image (walkonwater727.wordpress.com)