The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?” “I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
~ scene from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Where are you going? Many people don’t have direction. They don’t know where they are going so it really doesn’t matter what road they take. A huge problem is boredom ~ nothing to do/nowhere to go. No anchor. No purpose. No point. Suicide is way too common. Destruction. Posturing. Puffing.
I cannot force anyone to do anything. I have no power to change a person’s heart. But I CAN do something: I can testify of what gives ultimate meaning. I can testify of the truth that is found in Jesus Christ alone! The Cheshire Cat is clever as he tells Alice it really doesn’t matter what road she goes down since she doesn’t know where she wants to go. But if somebody sincerely asks me “What road do I take?” I’m gonna smile like the Cheshire Cat, I will point down the road that leads to Jesus Christ. The road of faith.
If you are lost/searching/floundering/feeling directionless… there is only one road that will bring meaning and satisfaction. Only one way to find ultimate peace.
- The road towards Christ is the hardest road to walk because Christ demands everything, the disciplines of the faith, the sacrifice of self, giving up that which you hold dear.
- The road towards Christ is the easiest road because the Lord Jesus Christ will overcome your weakness with his strength, filling you with wisdom and endurance.
Today’s scripture is a candidate for the most amazing bible verses describing the supremacy of Christ. May the Holy Spirit speak to your heart so that you will be able to catch a glimpse of the fullness of Christ beyond my meager words. As Paul presents this description of Jesus Christ, picture yourself as a mountain climber at the base of the mountain gazing at the summit, imagining what it is like standing at the top!
One of the most important word in these verses is the word “IS.” Paul piles on truth after truth of who Jesus Christ IS. The Son IS… He IS… He IS… People of faith can have honest doubt, yet there comes a time for us to affirm what we believe ~ an unwavering grasp of who Jesus IS… As we consider this scripture, I challenge you: choose a phrase that speaks to you and dwell on it this week. For me, I’ve underlined the last phrase of 1 Col. 1:18: “…so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” Adopt a single phrase. Bring it to mind through-out each day “ Walk down the road towards the fullness of Christ. Let the truth of who Jesus IS, shape your mind, impact your feelings, focus your priorities.
READ Col. 1:15-20. Which phrase speaks to your heart? Adopt it. Live it…
The Son IS… Jesus IS… He IS… In America/the western world, we have a hard time fully grasping verses like this because we value accomplishments. The people with the most money, the most influential jobs, the best speakers, the biggest, the sexiest, the most powerful. Jesus IS. Paul is speaking in the third person as he points to Jesus for who he IS…
Several thousand years before Christ, Moses was the leader of the people of God. Moses ran away from Egypt and his people about age 40 after he killed an Egyptian. He built a life in the wilderness. About age 80 while tending sheep, he noticed a strange bush on fire: the bush was not consumed. As Moses approached the bush, it became evident he was in the presence of God. God spoke and revealed his heart to Moses and instructs him to confront Pharaoh in Egypt. Moses is awed as he stands on Holy Ground: “What should I tell the people who sent me.” God answered, Tell them [I AM WHO I AM]. (Ex. 3:1-14) At this point in history, the burning Bush was the highest revelation of God. God simply declared, I AM.
Col. 1:15-20 is a burning Bush revelation of God. Instead of God speaking in the first person, I AM, Paul is speaking of Jesus Christ in the third person, HE IS. The loftiest reason we should choose the road towards Christ is not because he helps us through our day, not because he makes us feel good, not because he comforts me – those things are all good. The primary reason to walk the road of Christ is because HE IS. Look to Jesus in all things because HE IS. Stay pure and true because HE IS.
Allow me to fumble around with comments on each of these life changing phrases describing who JESUS IS. As I go through each phrase, take seriously my challenge to choose a single phrase and live with it this week. I will post a discussion forum tomorrow on the church Facebook page for thoughts… For those of you who don’t have a clue what Facebook is or can’t stand it, you can write down your thoughts and I’ll Here are my chicken scratchings…
- 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, The Son is Jesus. To know Jesus is to know and see God, a visible expression of God Himself. I read the word “image” is the same word as the Roman coin with the image of Caesar, the Roman ruler of the empire. Few people ever saw Caesar in person, but they could catch a glimpse of him when they looked at the coin. Jesus is the image of God… Perhaps you will choose this truth this week…
- the firstborn over all creation. This cannot mean Christ is a created being, for a few phrases down we are told Jesus is the creator of everything and He is before all things. Interestingly, Firstborn is a word used at times in the Bible to describe King David, yet he wasn’t the firstborn in his family or even the first King of Israel… firstborn means something like, “The most amazing” ~~ creation is an awesome gift from God, but how much more Jesus Christ, the firstborn, more amazing than anything we find in the breadth of creation.
- 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, Normally we think of God as the creator because of Gen. 1-3, In the beginning. My words fail me, but to add this truth of Jesus as the creator is _________. And not only the creation we see, but the spiritual world as well….
- whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. All means ALL… not only by him, but FOR HIM… put that in the context of the Roman world with Roman authority governing everything. Put that in the context of our world, our governments, our systems…
- 17 He is before all things, Many choose to dismiss this truth, but for the Christian, this alone colors everything we are about…. Consider all it means…
- and in him all things hold together. Is your world spinning out of control? Do you fear the future? Do you live with the deadly illness of the “What if’s” or the “if only”. Perhaps this is the phrase you need to internalize this week.
- 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; In America we glorify the individual. This is a hard concept to fully grasp. Jesus came to bind people together, to bless one another, to work together for the sake of the Kingdom, to worship together… If you tend to focus on what Jesus does for me as an individual and see faith as primarily a way for me to be changed, then dwell on Jesus as the head of the church… ask God to expand your mind of who Jesus IS.
- he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, The dead! An impact beyond this world… there’s that word firstborn again, surely a reference to the resurrection. I chose a traditional Easter Song to end this service because there is no greater life changing truth than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What am I missing, surely there is much more in this phrase… live it.
- so that in everything he might have the supremacy. Supremacy. Most sermons from this scripture use this word in the title, taking it as the most important word. I can see why. Why is this true. How does your heart/mind/soul/strength ~ world ~ change
- 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, Consider what it means to please God. Isn’t that an awesome thought to have an insight of what gives God pleasure. I see in this a reference as well to the unfathomable mystery of Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, all his fullness dwell in Him…
- 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, Reconcile. If you are having major relationship issues then adopt this truth of who Jesus is: the great reconciler. What other words could be use? Reunite, bring together, resolve, restore, patch things up, settle...
- whether things on earth or things in heaven, Something is taking place in heaven and Jesus has supreme authority over that realm too…
- by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. There’s the subject of a million books… PEACE. One of the greatest needs of humankind today… peace within and peace without… The how of peace is the blood and cross….If you meditate on this truth, you will find a measure of satisfaction and amazement, but you may add another 10,000 questions giving you a lifetime of being amazed by God.
There is only one road to take in order to find peace: that road is to go to Jesus Christ. JESUS IS. I challenge you to adopt one of these declarations and ponder it each day. Ask the Lord to reveal deeper truth and understanding speaking to your heart, mind and strength. Much insight will be beyond words.
I want to end this message by reading the scripture one more time, only with a twist. God appeared to Moses in a burning Bush and revealed Himself as I AM (that was the first person). Paul described us a revelation of God in the third person, HE IS. I want to read these verses in the 2nd person, speaking directly to Jesus Christ and affirming His Supremacy, YOU ARE. READ Col. 1:15-20
15 [YOU ARE] the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in [YOU] 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 [YOU] and for [YOU]. 17 [YOU ARE] before all things, and in [YOU] all things hold together. 18 And [YOU ARE] the head of the body, the church; [YOU ARE] the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything [YOU] might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [YOU], 20 and through [YOU] to reconcile to [YOURSELF] all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through [YOUR] blood, shed on the cross.