Text: Colossians 1.15-23 (Read it here)
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. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 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.
(Colossians 1.18-20, NIV)
Author: Rob Anderson
Think back to your elementary days. Do you remember that time you had a substitute teacher? So just exactly how did you act?
When I was in the fifth grade, we knew we were going to have a substitute for an extended period of time—several weeks. We were pretty excited about it and to be honest, it was for all the wrong reasons.
Even before the first day the teacher was absent, we were already planning ways in which we would skirt the rules and dupe the teacher. We would sit in all the wrong places and convince her that our “regular” teacher allowed all kinds of things that she in fact would never allow.
On the day the substitute showed up for class, we were in for a surprise. The “substitute” was actually a teacher who had been in our school the previous year. She knew all of us by name. To make matters worse, she went to church with me!
We knew we were defeated before the school day even began. There was no way we would pull a fast one on her.
When we read Colossians 1, I wonder if the first readers of the letter assumed about Jesus many of the things we did about our substitute. There is a sense that a substitute teacher is not a “real” teacher. (He or she wouldn’t be called a sub if he or she was permanent, right?)
When the first readers of Colossians listened to Paul, here is what they heard:
- Jesus is the image of the invisible God
- He was the firstborn
- In him all things were created
- He is the head of the body
- He has supremacy
Jesus doesn’t sound much like a substitute or like he is playing second-fiddle, does he? And he is not. It is through him that we have salvation. He is the one who reconciles us to God. Without Jesus, we have no opportunity to be with God.
How do you look at Jesus today? Is he just a small part of the bigger picture or is he the one you allow to bring you into a relationship with God?
We often hear people talk about the “apple not falling far from the tree.” What do we mean when we say this? What characteristics do you have that you or others have seen in your parents or perhaps siblings? In what ways are your actions close enough to one another that you could even be mistaken for the other?
When we look at Jesus, we see God—the fullness of God dwells in him. How does this fact help you as you desire to know God? What things about God do you know only because you know Jesus?
What does Paul mean when we writes that Jesus is the head of the church, “so that in everything he might have the supremely?” What does it mean to be the supreme being? If Jesus is supreme, how does our life compare to his? How does this change or affect the way you chose to live your life?