If you had to respond to Jesus that day on the road outside Galilee, how would you describe Jesus? Now think about how you would introduce Jesus to your friends.
I’ve always perplexed over the disciples’ response that some say Jesus was John the Baptist. Followers of John would have heard the message that someone else was coming, far greater than John himself. In fact, it was John’s job to prepare the way for Jesus, not himself.
Jesus is first in everything. We read that in today’s passage along with a list of the attributes that make Jesus supreme. That’s a great word, “supreme.” It conjures up all sorts of images for us in our society from a pizza loaded with toppings to a singer from a popular girl group “back in the day.” For our purposes, let’s take Google’s definition, “superior to all others.” That’s who Jesus is.
Are you content being in second place? There is so much focus on being the “best” or #1, especially for sports teams. As you may already know, I’m a huge Green Bay Packers fan. You’ll almost always see someone in the crowd with a big foam finger signifying the coveted “#1”. We’re driven, maybe even pushed, into striving for the top position of whatever group or association we’re part of. Why is that? Don’t we know who is truly supreme?
We must believe in the deity of Jesus or our faith crumbles and is meaningless. These verses say it so beautifully. “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.” Paul knew the Colossian believers (and us) would need to firmly grasp the supremacy of Jesus.
Paul’s first audience was surrounded by false teachers that would have been trying to sway the people to doubt Jesus was anything special. There would have even been popular thought questioning how the world could have been created by God because he would not have created evil. This text is probably the strongest in the whole Bible for the divine nature of Christ.
We often think of Jesus as the baby in the manger who grows up to do miracles, die on the cross, and be raised from the dead in three days. While he did all those things, Jesus’ identity encompasses so much more. In fact, we can’t even begin to wrap our minds around the miracle that happened when God sent his son, the Word, into the world.
If we replace the word “Word” with “Jesus” as this passage begins, we can get a clearer picture of another truth about Jesus. He is eternal and has been with God the Father from the beginning. I often refer to God as the “Creator,” but this passage suggests Jesus was also responsible, for “nothing was created except through him.” That gives our picture of Jesus a much richer dimension, doesn’t it?
The Book of Hebrews was written to the Jews to help them understand how Jesus fulfilled the law so they would recognize Jesus for who he was and accept his authority. It was difficult for the Jews, and sometimes even for us, to grasp that Jesus was the Son of God. It would have been dangerous for these Jews to be seen as Christ-followers, so this book will also serve to empower them with truth. We may find even today the temptation to fall away from our faith.
As we’ve been reading different texts to help us understand who Jesus is, this one encourages us to want a relationship with Jesus. He is certainly someone I want to associate with. I like this quote from Aaron Rogers, quarterback of my team (Green Bay Packers). “Surround yourself with really good people. I think that’s an important thing. Because the people you surround yourself are a reflection of you.” Don’t we want the world to see Jesus reflected in us?