Summary: This sermon is to help us know who Jesus is.
“Claim the Name”
Have you ever had one of those moments when you have to question your own sanity? The other day I found myself in the garage and I didn’t have a clue as to why I was there. Does this sound familiar? I hope so because if it doesn’t, maybe I should check myself in someplace. What usually happens to me is that I will get something on my mind and I can really think of nothing else. Then I start to do a chore, like going to the garage for an extension cord, and I totally forget why I am there. It happens a lot to me on Sunday morning as most of you know. You will tell me something at the back of the church and by the time I get up here, I will have forgotten. I’m terrible about this type of thing. I praise the Lord that we seem to be working around this. Anyway, this morning’s passage is one of those passages that really tell everything in a nutshell to a people who seem to have forgotten. Let’s see if we can take a little refresher course as to who Jesus really is.
As we begin this morning, I don’t have to remind anyone that we have just gone through another election. We have had to put up with months of rhetorical garbage from our politicians. Now we can only watch and see how they don’t understand America at all and we will have to put new people in again at the next election. The point I’m trying to make is that politicians have been doing these things for a long time. Barry Robinson tells a story of Theodore Roosevelt during one of his campaigns. A delegation called on him at his home at Oyster Bay, Long Island. We all usually think of Teddy Roosevelt as a rather earthy character and that is exactly what he was like here as he met this delegation with his coat off and his sleeves rolled up. He said to them, “Gentlemen, come down to the barn and we will talk while I do some work.” At the barn, Roosevelt picked up a pitchfork and looked around for some hay. Then he called out, “John, where’s all the hay?” “Sorry, sir,” John called down from the hayloft. “I ain’t had time to toss it back down again after you pitched it up here while the Iowa delegation was here.” It seems that politicians will go to great lengths to relate to their constituents. But let’s take a look at the even greater lengths that God has gone through to relate to you. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live for you, to die for you. He has gone through great lengths so that you may spend eternity with Him.
Paul is in prison in Rome writing this letter because he has heard that the Colossians were being told that their Christian faith was incomplete. He begins by telling them that Jesus is the image of our invisible God. We all know that we have never seen God. No one has. It tells us in the Old Testament that if anyone did see God, they would die. So we know that we cannot see God. Right? Well the answer is wrong. We have seen God. Many, many people saw God in person and they all lived. Look at all the disciples. They saw God, followed God and talked with God in normal conversations. I hope that we all remember reading in John 14:9 where Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
We have seen God. We have to be so careful in our world that we don’t get tripped up by Satan in the form of Biblical experts or modern science or anything else that tries to make us think negatively about God and Jesus. Basically, Jesus was born and was human. Therefore God would essentially look like all other humans. The word image here doesn’t refer to a perfect mirror image. It means a likeness. It only makes sense that God is not going to be an image of something that will scare us. He will have all the best attributes that humans can have. He will be a glowing fountain of love coming from someone who looks like us.
Then Paul finishes his first sentence here by saying that Jesus is the firstborn over all creation. I think that we generally have a misunderstanding of the term firstborn. We like to think in terms of birth order. In ancient times this was often the case. There were exceptions like when a girl was the first born. Generally speaking the first born male inherited everything. But this wasn’t always the case. We read in Psalms that David was called the first born. We see that Solomon was called the first born and he inherited the throne. What I am trying to say here is that it wasn’t necessarily the birth order that was important but it was the ranking with the father. If the father considered you to be the first born, then you inherited and in the case of Solomon, he became king.