Monday, 26 September 2011
Colossians 1:15-23 Recap: Who Do I Think I Am?
Who do I think I am?
That question has many answers, depending on the situation. Some of us identify ourselves by our preferences. “I’m not a coffee drinker, I’m more of a tea person.” It’s actually kind of funny to take this literally. When someone once remarked to me, “I’m a broccoli person,” I couldn’t get the picture of them as a huge stalk of broccoli with a little face in the middle out of my mind. Too much Veggie Tales, I guess.
Who do you think you are? Are you defined by your mood? Your circumstances? Your past? Your sins? Your successes? Your failures?
A more important question. As Paul begins the main topic on his heart, he answers a more important question. Who is this Jesus? The answer to this question isn’t trivial like some of our self-identity answers, it’s profound. In fact Paul writes a poem, crafting and weaving language into something that can’t just be read, it must be pondered. Here is a little of what we learned today:
- Jesus is both the image and fullness of God. He makes God visible.
- Jesus has all the rights of the Firstborn. Unquestioned authority.
- Jesus is Creator, not creature. Creation is in him and through him and for him.
- Jesus didn’t just create, he sustains. When my life is unraveling, he is my help.
- Jesus is head over the New Creation. He is Lord.
- Because he rose (firstborn from the dead), I will, too.
- Jesus is organically connected to his body. He’s that near. He’s united to me, to us.
- Jesus shows us God’s pleasure. God was pleased to reconcile us, though it tore his Son in two.
This is our Jesus. The one whom we’ve begun to know by faith.
Now I can ask… Paul then tells the Colossians (and us) who they (and we) are. Our past before we knew Christ. Our present state in Christ. Our future hope with Christ. Take some time to put yourself in the Colossians 1:21-22. You are more than a tea person. More than a mother who yells at her kids. More than a girl who didn’t finish college or who did but still can’t find a job. In Christ you and I are:
- above reproach (judgment)
You can understand why Paul’s closing thought in this section is, “continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard…”
What makes it hard to continue in the faith? Our culture seeps in through the doors and windows of our lives. We’re affected by it, even as we try to resist it. Here’s what came up in my small group.
One woman had experienced a tragic death in her extended family just a few days before. Everyone was shocked and saddened by it, but comforted themselves with the words, “At least he’s at peace now. He’s in heaven and at peace.” His mother objected. “He didn’t believe in God.” But another family member reassured, “Oh, but God believed in him.”
The false belief of universal salvation apart from Christ creeps into our churches, too. Another women, not from Grace Church, called it a belief in “the touchy, feely God.” We remake him into our image all the time. We think of him the way we’d like to think he is.
Continuing in the faith means standing firmly on passages like Colossians 1:15-20. Knowing it. Believing it. And then being ready to share it with those who need to hear true hope.