Wednesday 04 January 2017

Bible Book:

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (v. 15)

Colossians 1:15-20 Wednesday 4 January 2017

Psalm: Psalm 98


The date that this letter is written is disputed. Some arguethat its developed ideas about Jesus would indicate a later date,perhaps after the fall of Jerusalem in AD70. Others have suggestedan earlier date possibly during Paul's first imprisonment in Rome(Acts 28:16). The authorship is also questioned- some holding to the tradition that it is Paul, others suggestingthere are enough differences from the other Pauline letters to meanit was written by another, perhaps a student of Paul.

While these arguments and details often matter in trying to makesense of ancient texts, the content of this passage seems to be sodazzling as to make them unimportant. That any document, by anyauthor in the early Church should make such extraordinary claimabout Jesus is staggering. There were people close enough in dateto Jesus of Nazareth to remember him, or know people who did. TheJews were fiercely monotheistic in a time of many gods. They wouldnot, could not, make light claims about the divine nature of Jesus,unless something extraordinary was going on. These words drive usto the edge of what we can conceive or comprehend. What is clear isthat from very early in the Church people believed that in thelife, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus we are being shownsomething of the nature of God. A man who ate and drank, who weptand argued, who healed and spoke wisdom, showed human beings God.In his humanity, we are to catch a glimpse of divinity, and in hisdivinity to catch a glimpse of the possibility for humanity. Thisis no ordinary claim for human beings to make, and one that couldhave simply aroused ridicule. Furthermore, the nature of this Godrevealed in a person is so unexpected and unlikely. A very earlyclaim of the Church was that 'the crucified is risen'. Surprisinglyit is the 'crucified' that would have been harder for people 2,000years ago to grasp. God is revealed on a cross - the fullness ofGod in the self-emptying of a human being. This is mystery andwonder; this is strange glory for the world to experience.

To Ponder

  • What difference to your view of the divine does it make tobelieve that a crucified Jesus was God's image?
  • How do you feel in this encounter with God revealed in aperson? 
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