Summary: In Jesus we have everything we need for salvation and for life in this world.
Last week the Minnesota Timberwolves traded the superstar Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics in exchange for seven players. What does it feel like to know that you are worth seven men? Obviously KG, as he’s known among NBA fans, must be pretty good. He is. He’s the total package. This 6’11’’ power-forward can shoot, dribble, pass, AND play defence. That’s why the Celtics were willing to trade seven players to get him. They figure that KG will give them their best shot at winning a championship.
Kevin Garnett may be worth seven men, but Jesus Christ is worth every person that ever lived. We know this because the heavenly Father traded Jesus away to gain for himself a world of sinners. Like Kevin Garnett, only better, Jesus is the total package. That’s what the Apostle Paul wanted to impress upon the Colossian Christians who were in danger of letting Jesus go in favour of man-made philosophies they thought more impressive. Today we want to learn together how Jesus is the total package so that we never let go of him.
Paul wrote to the Colossians because their pastor, Epaphras, told him about the false teachers that were hanging around his members urging things like the worship of angels, abstinence from certain foods, and the belief that Jesus wasn’t God. To reinforce what the Colossians had learned from their own pastor, namely that Jesus is the total package, Paul wrote: “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority” (Colossians 2:9, 10).
False teachers could claim that Jesus wasn’t God but the truth is the whole divine nature, everything that makes God, God, resides in the person of Jesus. Let’s not pass over that truth so quickly. That’s a bit like saying that this pickup truck holds the sand from every beach, from every ocean, lake and river bottom, from every desert, sand dune, and playground sandbox in the world! That’s impossible you say. And so it seems impossible that the infinite God can be housed in a finite body, yet that’s what the Bible teaches about Jesus. The man Jesus is also the God Jesus.
Instead of trying to figure out how this can be, it’s more important to answer why. Why did Jesus have to be both God and man, and how does that give us fullness as Paul said? As the angels outside of Bethlehem proclaimed, Jesus came to save the world from sin. In order to do this Jesus needed to be human so that he could take our place and pay the penalty for sin, which is death. Think of it like this. If I committed a crime, I could hardly expect the judge to let my cat go to jail in my place. My cat is an animal and I’m human. In the same way, if Jesus is going to take our place, he needs to be one of us. Still, Jesus needed to remain God so that his payment for death would extend to the whole world. If your spouse or child gets one or two parking tickets and doesn’t have the money to pay for them, I’m sure you’d be able to pay them (though you wouldn’t be happy about it). But what if everyone in the world came to you with their parking tickets, would you be able to pay for every one of them? No. You would need to be Bill-Gates-rich to do that! In the same way Jesus needed to remain God-rich so that his death could be credited as payment for the sins of everyone that has ever lived.
And Jesus has paid for every one of our sins, or “missteps,” as Paul calls them (v. 13b). Missteps. That word makes it sound as if sin isn’t so bad. Well it’s one thing to misstep while walking through a pasture of cow pies and quite another to misstep while attempting to cross a tightrope that had been strung between two skyscrapers. There, just one misstep will plunge to your death. That puts sin in perspective doesn’t it? No matter the cause or how small the sin may seem to us, it puts us off the narrow road to heaven and plunges us into an eternity of hell. So losing your patience whether it’s because your child is refusing to do what you asked or because the clerk messed up, knocks you off the path to heaven. Bending the truth, even a little about where you were and with whom you were hanging out is enough to send you hurtling down to hell. Ignoring traffic laws because you think they’re dumb or because no one else observes them is as damning as driving home drunk and killing someone in the process. Sure Paul calls them missteps but make no mistake, our sins are a big deal to God and they should be to us!