Summary: Get back to the basic truth of the gospel – that Jesus alone saves us.
By Rev Heather Cetrangolo
Today we’re looking at chapter 1.vs15-23 of Paul’s letter to the Colossians and – today it’s all about getting back to basics.
It’s important that we do this.
I think it’s the same reason we take holidays
- Holidays give us an opportunity to get back to basics.
- Get back to nature – go to the beach, up to the mountains?
- Get back to enjoying the simple things in life
- When we come back from holidays we’re usually a little more relaxed and focussed
- A little more functional in our relationships with our family
- And a little more aware of what really matters in life, and what doesn’t actually matter that much, and maybe even the things that we need to cut out of our lives.
Well, we might like to think of today’s passage in Colossians as a little bit like getting away from the many distractions we have in the life of the church – and getting back to the basics of who Jesus is and what he’s done. So we’re going to spend some time this morning thinking about our journey with the Lord – how it has developed, over the years, and where it is right now.
- I wonder how many of you can remember when you first met Jesus?
- How did that happen for you?
- What have you learned about him since?
- Who do you believe he is?
- When I first met Jesus I was a very young child. I knew that he was a good guy who I could trust. I knew he had a beard and sandals, and that he healed sick people and loved the people that others disliked. I knew he was God and that he died for me.
- As I got older I began to understand more about suffering. I learned about his betrayal and crucifixion and I began to know that Jesus suffered for me, wept for me, bled for me.
- And then further down the track I started to grasp that he actually rose from the dead. That he defeated death.
- Further still along the journey I began to see that Jesus still has a way of turning up on earth, through the faith and ministry of his followers. I began to get that we are the body of Christ, and his spirit is with us.
But never … until I came to read passages like today’s reading from Colossians, did I ever think about who Jesus was before the beginning of the world. Why would you? None of us were there and nobody wrote about Jesus until he came into the world as a man (apart from the prophecies that didn’t make sense until that happened).
Paul is teaching the church in Colosse, that it matters a great deal who Jesus was before he became a man. Because if we don’t know who he always was, we won’t get what his death and resurrection really means. We’ve gotta know, that when the world saw Jesus it saw God. And therefore Jesus is these things:
- He is equal to the Father – v15
- He created us and everything else – v16
- Nothing works without him – v17
- And that includes the church – v18
- Fully God – v19
Usually the first things we learn about Jesus are that he was born of Mary on Christmas Day, that he died on the cross and rose again. And we think of being born as the start of the story, because, being born was how we all started out. But to know who Jesus the man on the cross is, we have to know who he always was. There’s a prologue we need to know about before we can move onto the next chapter of the story.
v15 - He is the image of the invisible God.
John 1:18 tells us that no one has ever seen God, but that Christ has made him known. Genesis tells us the reason that we don’t see God is because of the fall. After Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord was walking in the garden and calling out to them, and they hid from him … we became so separated from God by our sin that we couldn’t even see him anymore … So the first and most significant thing about Jesus’ saving work on earth, is that he enabled us to see God again – because he is the image of the invisible God.
v15 - The firstborn over all creation.
Just as traditionally in Jewish culture the firstborn would share in the Father’s rights and entitlements, Jesus has supreme ownership of this whole world and of heaven and everything and everyone that ever existed.