Summary: In Colossians chapter one, Paul declares the preeminence ("first-ness") of Christ in five areas: the gospel message; the cross; the creation; the church, Paul’s ministry. Who do you think Jesus is?
Putting First Things First
Series: Jesus, Post-Resurrection, part 2
Wildwind Community Church
April 29, 2006
2705 A Part Of Main Structure
Rev. W. Kingstone Greenland visited a vacant house with a friend who desired to purchase it. The friend was particularly struck by the beauty of one of the rooms which he wished to turn into his study; but he objected to a cupboard in the corner.
“I will have to remove it”, he said to the architect. “No, you won’t,” was the reply. “But I can do what I like if I buy the house,” said the man. “You cannot do what you like with that cupboard,” answered the architect. “Why not?” he asked, “Is it protected by a clause in the deed?” “No,” said the architect, “it is not on the deed: it is on the plan. You cannot take away the cupboard without taking down the house; it is part of the main structure.”
So if we take away the Deity of Christ, we destroy the whole structure of Christianity. That doctrine is built in. It is central. It is a part of the structure.
In Colossians 1, the Apostle Paul sets out to declare the deity of Christ – to show his preeminence over all things. Remember now that preeminence really just means superiority – that Jesus is superior to all human beings, all the created gods men and women have worshipped, all religious and philosophical systems, and all powers in the universe. He is absolutely without parallel. If we remove him, we have removed the main part of the structure, and the structure cannot stand. Without the divinity – the preeminence – of Christ, there simply is no Christianity. Many branches of theology exist today that attempt to take the supernatural out of Christianity, including all miracles and the resurrection. Many deny that Jesus was the Son of God, though he may have been a great teacher. Most claim to want to help us gain a better understanding of Jesus so that we can honor him properly. None come right out and say they intend to destroy Christianity, but Paul knew the truth. Separate Jesus from his divinity and Christianity collapses.
Now you have to understand the boldness of this claim, and that Paul is not saying something about Jesus that Jesus never said about himself. On the issue of the boldness of the claim, Buddha never claimed to be god. Mohammed was the founder of Islam and he never claimed to be anything more than a prophet. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion, claimed to be only a man who had received a revelation from God. Moses and Abraham, the two principle patriarchs of Judaism, never claimed to be anything more than human beings. So this claim to preeminence on the part of Jesus is very bold – unlike any claim made by any other teacher or religious leader. Here’s what Jesus had to say about himself:
John 14:9-10 (NIV)
9 Jesus answered: "Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ’Show us the Father’?
10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.