Summary: In this message we investigate the reality of the person of Jesus Christ. He is real, alive and willing to change the destiny of your life and mine.
Who is Jesus?
Pastor Chuck Hill
Colossians 1:15-23 (Focusing on v. 15-17)
Turn with me tonight to Paul’s letter to the Colossian Church. We will be focusing our attention on the first really strong teaching portion of this letter – it is found in chapter 1, beginning with verse 15.
After an extended period of time, many personal experiences and incredible moments together, Jesus poses 2 questions to His disciples – to His close followers.
Matthew, chapter 16 recounts this event with great detail. He records that Jesus asks, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is? This was a very simple but powerful question. The responses were very diverse. The notions were as numerous as the people giving them. Jesus was astonished but the answers He received. He was accused of being John the Baptist, Elijah and even other Old Testament prophets.
You must understand that there is a right and a wrong answer to this question!
Due to the mixed reviews, Jesus makes the questioning much more personal – He looks to them again and them very directly… “Who do you say that I am?”
As I stated a moment ago, there is a right and a wrong answer to this question, and the answers that people give will have a huge implication on how they live their lives!
This very same topic is the one that Paul addresses here in this letter to the young church in Colossae. He wants to solidify the understanding of who Jesus is in the minds of the Colossian people.
To help you understand why this issue is so important, let me explain it another way.
If we want to know what God is like, we must look at Jesus. And for a few moments tonight, I want to put a magnifying glass upon him.
If you take a magnifying glass and look at one part of a beautiful painting to see how the artist did it, and to get more of the detail you will find the part under the glass clearly magnified. But on the edges, on the circumference of the glass, things look blurred. That is why we want to really focus on Jesus. Too often in the church, in our theology, in our teaching and preaching, we get focused on something else and it is Jesus that for some will get blurred in the process.
Here at Woodland, we do not want that to ever be the case. We want to really place the focus of this church and this community upon the person of Jesus Christ. We want to know the heart of God. And remember, if we want to know what God is like, we must look at Jesus.
And now, let’s look together at tonight’s passage.
There is a strong declaration made in this passage tonight.
We find in tonight’s passage a detailed picture of the person of Jesus Christ.
In fact, Paul goes into great detail to declare one key thought and that is…the Supremacy of Christ. He clearly identifies Jesus as supreme – supreme over everything and everyone!
There are a couple of questions that arise when you read Colossians. First, why does he write this letter? And secondly, how can he say such things with such assurance and authority?
Well, Paul writes this letter because he wants to combat all of the false doctrine that was being taught – and he does so by proclaiming the truth about Christ. There was a group of people known as the Gnostics who were teaching falsely about who Christ was. They taught that Jesus was not God. And, they also taught that there were levels of spiritual enlightenment that enabled people to receive what they classified as “secret or special” spiritual knowledge.
But here, Paul makes it very clear to everyone just who this Jesus really was. And what is so amazing is that he did not shy away or avoid the difficult and controversial issues, but instead, he confronts them with great authority.
As for the things that Paul said, he did write with great assurance and authority. Why? Because he knew first hand who Jesus was – he knew the life-changing encounter that he had with Christ was real, and he wanted everyone to be able to know and to serve this Christ.
He addresses 3 key details about who Jesus is in this passage that we are looking at tonight.
He deals with…
1. The Presence of Jesus Christ
2. The Preeminence of Jesus Christ
3. The Power of Jesus Christ
So, let’s look first at His Presence.
I. His Presence
(v. 15) He is the image of the invisible God. (NIV)
The NLT says it like this (v. 15) Christ is the visible image of the invisible God… (NLT)