We are thinking about the Awesome Christ. We are going to read a passage in a minute which is one of the most amazing pieces of writing about anyone ever! Truly amazing.
The Marvel and DC comic character thing is massive at the moment. Lots of us are loving the whole X men, Iron Man, Avengers, Batman thing - excited about the release of the new Avengers movie, and so on.
There’s something about this hero thing isn’t there? Someone with powers, someone who can rescue, someone who can come in and do what we cannot do for ourselves. And there’s something about that, that strikes a chord in us as human beings, very often, isn’t there?
Many people observe this, and see something going on in us as people at that point. Something about us that longs for the rescuer, powerful, heroic figure who comes and does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, someone to worship and admire… there’s something about that which resonates. There’s a deeper truth going on there, these things are a faint reflection of a truer, better, bigger story of humanity and heroes.
Our heroes and how we worship them.
Well with that in mind, lets read these words from Colossians chapter 1. Verses 15-20
Read the words to let them soak in. They are SO fabulous, I almost don’t want to comment on them. I want to let them speak. Probably a song of some kind, with a kind of poetic style to them, a bit different to the way Paul often writes.
But listen to this. Let your heart praise as you read.
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Last week we saw how Paul is writing to a bunch of Christians living in a small town called Colossae, and he is encouraging them as he talks about them growing in fruitfulness and prays they will continue to grow in this, as they grow in knowing who it is they have believed in. And I think this was a key thing for them because there were other ideas coming in that were confusing them… maybe about worshipping angels, or other ideas, and Paul is writing all this to say – lets get clear, its all about Jesus!
People often look at some of the different world views and teachings of wise men and religious leaders through the centuries, and say something like… 'well they’re all wise, all have something interesting to say, all worth listening to', that may be true to a degree. But here’s thing – as we have said several times over the last few weeks, with the things that Jesus said, he’s not prepared to take a seat at the table as one of a number of wise guys with helpful insights into the world.
There was an article in the Wall Street Journal over Easter, by a former hardline atheist journalist called Lee Strobel. And his article was entitled, ’How Easter killed my faith in Atheism’, responding to some comments Ricky Gervais had made.
Lee Strobel starts off his article:
‘It was the worst news I could get as an atheist. My agnostic wife has decided to become a Christian. Two words shot through my mind. The first was an expletive, the second was divorce.
I thought she was going to turn into a self righteous holy roller. But over the following months, I was intrigued by the positive changes in her character and values. Finally I decided to take my journalism and legal training (I was legal editor of the Chicago Tribune) and systematically investigate whether there was any credibility to Christianity.’ The rest is on our website. Have a read.
So Jesus. Who was he, or better, who is he?
This first part to look at is v15-20
In v15-20 there are two statements of who Christ IS.
- Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. An image in a mirror shows you exactly what the person just out of your sight is like. It is exactly like them.
- Christ is the head of the church which is his body. He is the first of us all, first in leadership, and in leading the way through death to eternal life.
Explore this further! Think about it. What do these verses mean?
SO FAR no mention of you or me! It is all about Jesus – simply revelling in who he is and how wonderful he is. But now in v21-23, we get into how this connects to us. 7 times we see YOU or YOUR. We’re getting personal. As we have sometimes heard, THIS IS YOUR STORY. We are involved here.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[g] your evil behaviour. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
3 words to explore:
Separated - from the God who made us.
Reconciled - by all that Christ has done.
Continuing - in what we have believed. Each day. One step after another. Not giving up.