Summary: When we make Christ the center of our world we discover the unfathomable largeness of God's power and passion for people.
Title: Colossal Christ
Text: Colossians 1:15-20
Thesis: When we make Christ the center of our world we discover the unfathomable largeness of God’s power and passion for people!
I have chosen “colossal” as the word I will use to describe Jesus Christ today. I have chosen it for two reasons:
1. Our text today is lifted from the book of Colossians which was written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in the Church at Colossae. Colossae is a derivative of the word colossal. The word Colossae is rarely used as a noun… it is generally used as an adjective to describe something as colossal. Colossae, used as a noun, implies something spatial as in a large city or metropolis or a large, densely populated urban center. Ironically, it was not. Tradition says Colossae was reduced to ruins following an earthquake and never rebuilt and has never been excavated.
2. And second, though colossal does not fully capture the fullness of Christ, we understand that things colossal are something of giant size and proportions. When we think colossal we think bulk or an extent of power that suggests the stupendous, the incredible, the exceptional, the astonishing or enormous.
A more theologically accurate way of thinking today would be to understand my use of colossal in light of the Latin word “Omnis” meaning “ ALL” as in omnipotent as in all-powerful or omniscient as in all-knowing or omnipresent as in everywhere present. When I speak of a Colossal Christ it is in the Omni-Colossal sense.
In 1843 a Medieval European Map of the World was discovered in a convent in Ebstorf, Germany. The map was enormous measuring 12’by 12’. It was a canvas made of 30 goatskins sewn together. The map was a painting of the world in which Jerusalem was the center. At the top of the map was the head of Christ. On either side were the hands of Christ. And on the bottom were the feet of Christ. It may be that the artist placed Jerusalem at the center of our world but it is clear that it is Christ who encompasses and holds the world in his hands and near to his heart.
Our text speaks of a God who created all things by Christ, holds all things together in Christ and who reconciles all things to himself through Christ. The Ebstorf Map visually puts Christ at the center of our world… and hopefully of our lives.
Our text introduces us to the largeness of who Christ really is. Christ is…
I. Colossal in Essence
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation. Colossians 1:15
The Gospel of John begins, “In the beginning the Word [Jesus Christ] already existed. The Word [Jesus Christ] was with God, and the Word [Jesus Christ] was God.” John 1:1
Colossians 2:9 teaches us that in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.
II Corinthians 4:6 says, “We have the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” That means that when you see the face of Jesus, you see the face of God”.
A. Christ is the visible image of God
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego produced a study showing that people and their dogs often look alike. In the study, a panel of student judges was able to match 16 out of 25 purebred dogs to their owners. The reason for this, researchers say, is because dog owners tend to choose a pet bearing their resemblance in some way.
The study identified similarities between pets and people as physical characteristics or personality traits or both. So what does that suggest about those whose pet is a tail-wagger or a ferocious guard dog of a cuddly little lap dog. They say, happy, outgoing, and affectionate dogs tend to be owned by warm and friendly people. So what of those who own hairless, yippy, pop-eyed, pooches are… you get the idea. I don’t know if shameless begging or dog odors are also a reflection of owner of a particular dog.
That aside, I wonder if I stood with a group of people from all religious faiths and belief systems… I wonder if a panel of judges would match me up with Jesus? Do I look like my Master? (John Beukema, Western Springs, Illinois (3-31-04); source: Jim Ritter, "Dog Owners See Themselves in Their Pets," Chicago Sun-Times)
When the Bible speaks of Jesus Christ being the visible image of the invisible God it does not mean Jesus resembles God. Nor does it mean that Jesus Christ is a copy or reproduction of God.
Matt Woodley commented in his sermon, “Jesus, Lord of Creation,” that a copy is not the same as an image. Our text states that Jesus Christ is the visible image of God, not a copy. A copy is not the real thing. Jesus is not a very nicely done reproduction of God that is barely discernible from the original. In describing Jesus as the image of God he was saying that Jesus is the same as the original and in fact is the original. Jesus is God.