THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1
A quotation from a hymn of praise to Christ, Lord of creation and redemption
The first stanza of this poem or hymn proclaims Jesus as the regent of Creation; the second, as the Reconciler of Creation. The Cross is absolutely instrumental in the second, and the Church is where this is seen and experienced and mediated to others.
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
- “The image of the invisible God” – this further explains the monogenes word of John’s gospel, meaning the only and unique and exactly similar Son of the Father, John 1:14
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.
- Jesus is the agent of creation. In another way, He is the objective of creation because everything has been created for Him. He became fully man; He must also be fully God if He is the recipient of creation.
17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
- Not only does all hold together in Christ Jesus, He was before all things – in other words, He was before creation was. An early departure from truth, the Arian heresy, claimed that Jesus was the first thing created. In fact He was the creator of the first things, as clearly stated here.
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.
- “The firstborn” alludes to the rights and privileges of the firstborn son of a monarch who would inherit the sovereignty. In Psalm 89:27 the expression is used by another psalmist of David:”I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.”
- Paul explains elsewhere that the church is the Body of Christ, 1 Cor. 12:27. Here he states that Christ is the Head of that Body. We are not just a body of believers in Christ, but His Body submitted to Him and closely identified with Him in the way He modelled for us.
For further study, see Eph. 1:22-23, Eph. 5:25, 1 Cor. 12:20-30
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Him…
- Jesus not only shows God’s glory but more than that, all that God is is also in Him – the Spirit of God, His wisdom, His glory – and His power. The fullness of God in Jesus is saying that Jesus is fully God, Col. 2:9.
- Christians have themselves come to fullness, Col. 2:10, but having gained a new identity in the One who is over all things. Thrones, powers, rulers and authorities, whether in the heavenlies, good or evil, or in the hierarchy of power on earth must defer to Jesus. As we willingly defer to Him, we gain a confidence not of ourselves, but 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.
- Jesus reconciles all things to Himself as the Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6 – reconciliation for believers as His friends and therefore friends of the Father, but a rather different reconciliation to Himself of those elements that are rebellious also. His reign of peace is anchored in the blood of His Cross – that is what it is about, our willing acceptance of what He has done, or our resistance or mocking of what He has done.
When we start to really ‘get’ who Jesus is, and who we are in Him, a lot of things, including the nature and purpose of His church come into focus.
He is the head of His body, the church so that He might have supremacy, show what God is like and reconcile to Himself what doesn’t like, what God is like. Which is where we come in.
This church is not struggling, and neither are we. There is a confidence, as well as a fullness, of being His, and being part of His purpose. There’s an awakening to this He wants to bring about, because He needs us, in a different but real way to our needing Him.
For reflection or discussion
Knowing Jesus is an exciting discovery but also a call to His purpose, to reconcile to the Father the world that doesn’t know Him, before it’s too late. How do we identify that purpose and respond to that call?