14 October 2014Colossians 1:15-20
“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven.” (vv. 19-20a)
In the vast array of faiths and gods that have been worshipped down the centuries, is there a case for the uniqueness of Jesus Christ? Here Paul says, 'Yes!' and with great emphasis.
It is clear that some old beliefs were running alongside Christianity in the Colossian church. The most likely group to be influencing these new believers were the Gnostics. Gnosticism was based on the belief that the world had been created by evil emanations, not by God.Gnostics believed that God was so good that a series of distances had to be put between heaven and an earth that was made up of evil matter. And as humankind was also made up of this same matter, then humans were intrinsically evil and hostile to God. The only way for people to relate to God was through a complicated series of codes only known to the intellectual Gnostics. It seems that this belief was influencing the Colossian church and causing problems.
So Paul lays great emphasis on the Jewish and Christian belief that God created the world and that it was good and, at that time, there was no question about how the process took place. What he wants to make clear is that Jesus is the image of that creator God, an image that reflects the creativity and the love of God for all people. In other words, if you want to see God, look at Jesus.
There is also a clear instruction to look to Jesus Christ as the head of the Church (verse 18) and as the head controls the body, so Christ must lead the Church, the Body of Christ.
And there is so much more. Through Christ people may see the extent of the love of God for all creation. Far from being a distant God dealing with evil humanity, this God wanted reconciliation with people and through the life and the sacrifice of Jesus it was shown that there were no limits to God's love.
If the Colossian church could fully understand that, then their problems would begin to be resolved.
- Have there been times when exploring another faith has challenged your own? In what way?
- In today's multicultural society how can you justify the Christian belief in the uniqueness of Christ?