By Mary Elmer
Approximate completion time: 50 minutes
Prayer: Lord God Almighty we ask that you help us to understand and absorb the divinity of Jesus. Even when we can’t fathom that He is fully man and fully God, help us to stand firm in our faith and to cry out like the man whose son was healed by Jesus: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24
Read: Colossians 1:15-29
Memory Verse: Colossians 1:27
Paul needed to address the false teachings in the Colossian church about Jesus. They believed that all things physical, including the body, were the source of weakness and evil. So they were having a hard time believing that Jesus in the flesh could be God. He starts off by telling them that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Paul’s words here are some of the strongest on the deity of Christ in the Bible. God is invisible but He is seen in His Son who is the image of God. Jesus exactly represents and displays who God is. Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being. Philippians 2:6 says that He is the very nature of God (See also verses 7-11). In Colossians 2:9 Paul adds to the deity of Christ:
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form…”
In the book of John we see Jesus’ deity revealed:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” John 1:1-2
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:14
We see later in verse 18 that Jesus is both God and the Father’s Son:
“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” John 1:18
So we see that Jesus is not only equal to God, He is God! He not only reflects God He reveals God to us.
Do you question who Jesus is? Do you believe He is a good teacher or prophet? If our faith falls short of believing He is God in the flesh, then our faith is useless and futile.
Jesus is the firstborn over all creation, which makes Him before all things. This does not mean that He is the first one to be born, but is heir of all and creator and owner of all things. Everything was created for Him and by Him. And because of this, He is the Sustainer of all that He has created! This gives me so much peace and hope knowing that He has the power to sustain all things; even my own life is in the palm of His hand! I love how the Amplified Bible translates verse 17:
“And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).”
The world may seem like it is falling apart, but because we have a holy, righteous, and perfect God who created everything and sustains everything, it is only falling into place, not apart! So, the next time you feel like your world is falling apart and caving in on you; rest on His promises in His Word and remember His past faithfulness to you.
Now let’s look at the death and resurrection of Christ. Paul says in verse 18 that Jesus is the “firstborn from among the dead”. He was the first to die and be resurrected in a glorified body never to die again! His resurrection was not like Lazarus’ who was raised from the dead only to die again. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead gave Him authority to give that resurrection life to others. On it the church was built and without it the church would not exist today.
Christ has conquered death and because of that, those who are His, will live for all eternity with Him! Our God is alive and active, forgiving us of our sins and interceding for us. He will return for us some day. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 for just one of the passages that explains the coming of the Lord. He will return. Will you be ready?
Because of Christ’s victory over death and His resurrection He is supreme over the entire spiritual and material world. How can we not put Him first in our lives? Ask yourself what you are putting before Him? Will you pray and ask God to help you start your day in and with Him and have Him show you where and what is in first place instead of Him?
Have you received God’s forgiveness? Are you withholding forgiveness from someone who has wronged you? Christ died for us that those who believe in Him and receive Him as Lord and Savior will be forgiven and have eternal life. Christ’s death provides the way for us to come to God. He paid for our sins on the cross, clearing the sin that keeps us from having a personal relationship with our Creator! We can have peace with God and be reconciled with Him by accepting that Jesus died in our place. And because He has forgiven us, we are to forgive others. What will you do today to take that next step?
Before Christ was in my life, I thought differently and lived differently. But, once I received Christ into my heart, He started to change me. It’s hard to believe that before Christ was in my life, I was alienated and an enemy of God by my evil behavior and the thoughts in my mind (v. 21). God’s transformation is amazing! Have you allowed God to transform your mind and your heart? Give them over to Him. You will not regret it. I have not! If you trust God and believe in Him then He will reconcile you by Christ’s physical body that was broken for you and through His blood, shed on the cross (v.20). What an amazing thing that after we are reconciled, we are holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation (v. 22). See also Romans 8:1.
So put your confidence in Christ alone; “continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel” (v. 23). Jesus is our confidence in all things. Keep your eyes on Him for He is our Savior, Protector, Provider, Helper, Power, and Hope, to name a few. Nothing in this world can replace Him.
Paul lets the Colossians know that he rejoices in any suffering he has had to endure for them.
“I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you” Colossians 1:24-25 NLT
When we suffer for Christ, He feels it. But we can rejoice in this kind of suffering because it brings changed lives and people into the family of God.
God called Paul to present “the word of God in its fullness—the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints” (v. 25-26). This mystery was hidden until Christ came and through Christ it was opened to all. Our key verse this chapter is verse 27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” So this mystery is the amazing reality of Christ living in our hearts, in our entire being! That is, for those who love Him and believe in Him. And this mystery was God’s plan all along, but it was to be revealed at just the right time. The Colossian believers would have been thrilled to learn that God’s plan was for them too, who were Gentiles.
Paul wanted them to know that he will continue to labor and struggle with all his energy in proclaiming and teaching them about Jesus because he wants to be able to present them perfect in Christ. The word “perfect” here means mature and complete, not flawless or sinless. (See James 1:2-4 for how suffering and maturity in Christ work together.) Are you willing to suffer so others can know Christ? What are you willing to do to help other Christians mature in Christ? Paul is a great example for us on living for Christ.
My prayer for us this week: Lord God, help us to understand your holiness and how each day we can walk in this holiness, glorifying your name. Guide us to accept your forgiveness and to offer that forgiveness to others. And help us Father to share the Good News about Christ in us, the hope of glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
- Explain how the supremacy of Christ encourages you.
- How would you share your story/testimony using Colossians 1:21-23?
- How will you “continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel”?
- What is the one “take away” that you got from this weeks study? What do you sense God is calling you to do? Share with us in the comments.