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?
Paul is challenging us to “have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” That might seem a bit daunting, but Paul shows us a bit about what that means. Having this knowledge gives us a glimpse into Jesus’ character as well. Humble. Compassionate. Loving.
You may be thinking, it’s easy to have a good attitude when you’re God. You’re in control. Yet, while Jesus is God, he is also man. We can’t forget Jesus “gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave.” Jesus knows firsthand how difficult being a human can be.
This is a difficult passage to read. We have discovered so far during our Discovering the Bible Challenge that Jesus is the Messiah, and he came to serve. Today’s reading shows us Jesus also came to suffer for us. What love!
The words of John 3:16 ring out to me, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” The suffering and agony had a purpose and was part of God’s plan. Let’s unpack these verses a little bit.