Five Things You Need To Know About Jesus
Text: Colossians 1: 15-20
Proposition: The greatness of the cross can’t be clearly seen until you first see the Greatness of Jesus Christ.
Introduction: The last time that we looked at Colossians we asked the questions that a doctor would ask of a patient who had been knocked out and was just regaining consciousness in the hospital. The doctor would ask three questions:
1. Do you know who you are? 2. Do you know where you are? 3. Do you know why you are here? In a sense that was what Paul was asking the Colossians because they had lost their way. They had lost the truth of who they are in Christ. They had lost the sense of where they were in faith and hope. They had even lost sight of why they were here. They had begun to put their hope in angels as their intermediary, they had begun to blend the saving work of Christ with the belief that being really good people was what would remove the effect of sin in their lives.. So right at the outset of this letter Paul tells them five things that they absolutely need to know about Jesus. If your faith has been weakened, if the cross of Christ has become a distant detail to you then there are five things you need to know about Jesus because the greatness of the cross can’t be clearly seen until you first see the Greatness of Jesus Christ. Have a look at Colossians 1:15-20.
I. Jesus is the Image of the Invisible God, the Firstborn of Every Creature.
What Paul is saying is that Jesus makes the unknowable known. When he refers to God as being invisible it doesn’t just mean that you can’t see Him, it refers to the fact that He is so high above our experience of reality that He is unknowable. Jesus is the image, the ‘eikon’ of the unknowable God. Jesus once said, “If you really know Me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”(Jn 14:7) So every attribute you see in Jesus is exactly the same as that which is in God the Father. His justice, His love, His patience, His anger, His wisdom, His laughter, His joy, His sorrow… all these are exact representations of what the Father looks like. As such Jesus is no mere man, He is almighty God. In fact the term that is used is, He is the firstborn of every creature. The term firstborn does not refer to Jesus somehow being created, it refers to the priority or preeminence He has over every created being from leopards to whales to mankind and even to angels. This Jesus is higher than the angels the Colossians were seeking to have as their intermediaries. All that you know God the Father to be is also Who Jesus is. Paul now expands our understanding of Who Jesus is, he leads us to the second thing you need to know about Jesus.
II. All Things Were Created By Him and For Him.
When Paul says ‘all things’ he means all of creation on earth or in heaven, the visible creatures and the invisible realm of the spirit world. From the outreaches of space to the microcosms on earth, Jesus created it all. The star Antares is 60,000 times larger than our sun. If the sun were the size of a softball, the star Antares would be the size of a house. The earth travels around the sun about eight times the speed of a bullet fired from a gun. There are more insects in one square mile of rural land than there are human beings on the entire earth. A single human chromosome contains twenty billion bits of information. If written in ordinary books, in ordinary language, it would take about four thousand volumes. All things were created by Him, that is an amazing glimpse into not only the power and creativity of Jesus Christ but also into the wisdom the designed it all. Then to this Paul adds that it was all created for Him, that is for His pleasure, for His purposes, for His glory. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork.” The ‘thrones, dominions, principalities and refer to the offices of angels that serve in these various places. The cherubim, the seraphim bow down before the throne of God, the ministering angels, the guardian angels all serve Him. The fallen angels too are under His judgment, even Satan is but a created angel that is under a sentence of hell. In other words Jesus uses all of creation to reveal the wonder and the glory of who the triune God is.
III. He Is Before All Things, and In Him All Things Consist. This refers to the timeline of creation. Before creation existed Jesus was. John 1:1-3 starts with this very truth, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” When Jesus was in Gethsemane He prayed, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” (Jn 17:4,5) Before all things, in eternity past, Jesus was with the Father reflecting back to the Father all the fullness and glory in Himself of who the Father is. The love of God the Father unrestrained fell upon the Son and the Son upon the Father in a degree and way that no human could ever fully appreciate. Before all things Jesus was. Jesus once said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” It was statement that enraged the Jews because they clearly understood that Jesus was claiming not only to exist before Abraham but was claiming the power to be self existent, apart from a beginning or end, outside of time. It was a claim they knew only God could make and they failed to see that this is exactly who Jesus is. Then to this Paul adds, ‘In Him all things consist’. That means that the very forces that hold the universe together, that bind molecules and keep electrons in their orbit, that keeps water molecules uniquely adhering, that makes electricity flow, the very power that makes all things consist is in Christ. Not only does Jesus create the universe, He sustains it. This is who our Jesus is!
IV. He Is the Head of the Body, The Church, The Firstborn From the Dead. This statement is the greatest compliment that could ever be bestowed upon mankind. It connects Jesus Christ to us as the One who is inseparably made Himself part of who we are as His church. The picture of Him as the groom and the church as His bride resonates through every culture and generation. This is what the design of marriage was ultimately meant to convey, not just the union of a man and a woman but the greater union of Christ and His church. The term head also refers to origins as the headwaters of a river indicate where it began so Christ is our headwater. Jesus is the source of life for all people who will take refuge in Him. Why? Because He is the one who reversed death. Ever since sin entered the world so did death. The only way death could be permanently overcome would be to take away sin. The firstborn from the dead refers to Jesus resurrection but principally it refers to His preeminence over death by taking the sin of the world upon His sinless being. That was the only vessel that could contain sin of such dimension and then He took that sin to its terminus, to its ending point. He took our sin to death. For this reason, “that in all things He may have the preeminence.”
V. In Jesus All the Fullness of the Father Dwells, Reconciling All Things. The word ‘dwells’ refers to a permanent residence, the fullness of who God the Father is, the ‘pleroma’, the totality of attribute and power, is forever who Jesus is. This is like a summarizing statement to all that has been said except to it is added the fact that it brought God the Father great pleasure to see such perfection in the Son and that this perfection would now move to the cause of reconciling all things to Himself. It means that Jesus balanced all things by sacrificing Himself on the cross to death, balancing the demands of the cost of sin with a payment of perfect righteousness. He reconciled that debt of sin in His own body, soul and spirit and then He presented that reconciled account to God the Father. In 1962 Don and Carol Richardson went as missionaries to Irian Jaya, working with the Sawi people. As he learned the language and lived with the people, he became more aware of the gulf that separated his Christian worldview from the worldview of the Sawi: "In their eyes, Judas, not Jesus, was the hero of the Gospels, Jesus was just the dupe to be laughed at."In a desperate effort to gain peace the tribes began to exchange young children between opposing villages. One man in particular ran toward his enemy's camp and literally gave his son to his hated foe. The peace child became the redemptive analogy that opened the door for the gospel. Jesus Christ is our Peace Child, the one who reconciles man to God by the blood of the cross. All His perfection and preeminence, firstborn, the fullness of God, the One in whom all things were created and in whom all things consist, these were all put on the cross so that He would become our peace.
These are the five things you absolutely need to know about Jesus because the greatness of the cross can’t be clearly seen until you first see the Greatness of Jesus Christ.