Jesus Holds First Place
As part of growing together at RLC, we want to memorize scripture together. The memory passage for February is Colossians 1:15-20 and it is awesome!
Small, domesticated views of Jesus will not do. Johnny Cash's little diddy, "your own personal Jesus" alone just doesn't cut it. He is a personal Savior, but oh he is so much more! The reason for this is because Jesus holds first place in all the universe. He is number one. He has preeminence. We don't make him number one or give him preeminence. He already has it. We can, however, have our eyes open to the beauty and glory of Christ such that we recognize and treasure him as preeminent and joyfully bow to him as first among all things! That is the point of Colossians 1:15-20 - in everything Jesus holds first place. The first assertion is in verse 16 and could be put this way: Jesus Christ is holds first place because he is the Creator of everything.
Paul labors to affirm the truth that Jesus is not merely a human being or "a god", but the uncreated Creator of everything. Some have taken the phrase "the firstborn of all creation" to say that Jesus is just the most exalted of all created things. But Paul won't allow that with what follows. "For by him all things were created." All things; then he explains: In heaven and on earth. Sounds like all things. But he goes further. Visible and invisible. That pretty much sums up everything. Paul continues though. Throne, dominions, rulers, and authorities - all things were created through him. And the last phrase is huge. All things were created "for him".
Okay, Jesus is the sovereign Creator of the universe - seems pretty clear. Connect this truth with the mystery Paul later explains that was hidden until the coming of Christ - "Christ in you." Jesus Christ, by his Holy Spirit lives in Christians. Don't brush past that. This is astounding!
So Jesus has first place because he is the Creator of everything. To steal a phrase from a Francis Schaefer book, how should we then live?
Worship in awesome wonder. Jesus Christ came into the world as a humble Jewish baby, but he existed eternally prior to his incarnation. What a mystery - the God-man, Jesus Christ! Any view of Jesus that sees him merely in human terms is puny, weak, and needs to be overthrown by this big view of Christ as the Creator, Owner, and Ruler of the universe because he holds first place.
Bow in humble reverence. Christians have the amazing privilege of being called friends by Jesus himself. But he is no ordinary Friend; He is God! Not a god, but the one, true, and living God. The apostle John - who referred to himself a number of times as "the one whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23, John 19:26, John 20:2, John 21:7, John 21:20) nevertheless "fell at his feet as though dead." when he saw the exalted Christ in Revelation 1. He was overcome, even undone by the glory and power of Jesus Christ. Jesus holds first place.
Live with a bold faith. The One who made everything is also the One who has rescued us from our sins. He is also the One who calls us to follow him in trusting obedience regardless of the cost. And if all things are created through Jesus and FOR Jesus, what do we [ultimately] have to fear. He is the Creator and Sovereign over the entire universe! Live a life of courageous faith, taking risks for Christ because he holds first place.
Overthrow every pretender. Jesus is number one. We don't make him number one. Who or what holds this place in your life? Is it your work, money, popularity, comfort, your spouse, kids, or even your own spirituality? All of these things, however good in themselves, are too small and will prove insufficient! In fact, all of these things will be a rival, an adversary to Christ if they hold first place. Pledge your allegiance to him because he holds first place!
Rejoice with a massive joy. The measure of joy is tethered to the object of its affection. Things can give us a little joy. An amazing wife and children can give us enormous joy. What of Christ then? Jesus Christ is the eternal Creator of all things is infinitely glorious - the fountain of everlasting joy. And he offers himself to be the joy of all who will receive him as their treasure. What are you waiting for? He holds first place. Receive him as that and rejoice with massive joy!