Colossians 1:15–19 | THE SUPREMACY OF JESUS CHRIST

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The Supremacy Of Jesus Christ

Colossians 1:15–19

Key Verse: 1:18

“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.”

The word “Supremacy” perfectly defines Jesus Christ. After greeting the church at Colosse, Paul immediately began to state some immutable truths that would forever define Jesus Christ— who he is— and what he did. In Paul’s time, the Colossian church had been infiltrated by heretics who had their own ideas about the Lord Jesus and his Gospel. We can state those heresies and try to refute them one by one. But it is not necessary. Paul did not do that. Paul simply taught the Colossians who Jesus is— and what he did. In that way, he left a treasure beyond measure. He made it clear once for all the supremacy of our Lord Jesus. And this is no small thing. To know or not to know Jesus— who he really is— is a matter of eternal life or eternal condemnation. Jesus himself once declared: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (Jn 17:3)

Jesus is the Image of the invisible God. Read verse 15. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” The Bible teaches us that we are made— created— in the image of God. It means that we have a spiritual nature like that of God, through which we can commune with God in worship and in praise. But when Paul tells us that Jesus is the image of the invisible God, he literally means that Jesus is the carbon copy of God, the perfect reflection of God. He tells us that there is literally no difference between God nor Jesus, that the two are separate yet one in nature. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Jesus perfectly represents God in every way. When our Lord Jesus walked the earth, he came to a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and when they had run out of wine, he blessed them by making wine for the wedding guests. He showed us the nature of God. God is a God of grace and the God of joy and of love. After the wedding, Jesus visited the temple, and when he saw the hypocrisy and the materialism of the priests that had infested the temple, Jesus was outraged and turned the tables upside down and drove all who were selling and buying from the temple. He showed us also the nature of God. God is a God of holiness and righteousness. he loves sinners but does not tolerate sin. He is the God who wants to purge sin from people’s hearts and then celebrate their deliverance as in a wedding feast. How great is our Lord Jesus— the image of the invisible God— who had made God known to us. How else would we have known God!

Jesus the firstborn over all creation.  Read verse 15 again. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” This is not a troubling verse. It does not mean that Jesus is a first creation of God. Paul did not mean in chronology but in Supremacy. In other words, when Paul etched those eternal words, he meant that Jesus is the first the only the originator, the author and the first of all that exists in all things in heaven and on earth. In John’s Gospel, John tells us from the start who Jesus is. He says that: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) To make it perfectly clear that the Word he was talking about is Jesus, he later says: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (Jn 1: 1(Jn 1: 14) Jesus himself tells us in Revelation 1:8 that he is “The Alpha and the Omega.” Jesus is God who came to make his dwelling among us. He left his glory in heaven in order to become flesh and dwell among us. When he dwelled among us, he showed himself to be the Image of the Invisible God. He loved us as God loves us. He served us as God serves us. He also sacrificed himself for us as God sacrificed himself for us throughout history and time. Jesus who is Supreme over all things came to earth in order to reveal God to us in every way. His life and works is the evidence that God did not create humanity in order to abandon us to our fate. Jesus’ life and works is the evidence that God did everything he could in order to rescue human beings from the bondage to sin. He gave his Son— he gave himself— in our place. He should be the firstborn, the Supreme in each of our hearts.

By Jesus all things were created. Read verse 16. “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” If there is any heresy or controversy regarding who Jesus is, these words are perfectly clear, etched in stone, forever. Jesus is the Creator God. In Genesis, we read that God created all things with his Word. Therefore the Living Word is the Creator God. Again John’s words confirm this truth. John tells us in the first words of his Gospel that Jesus is not only God but that he is the Creator God. He says, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (Jn 1:3) Jesus created all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities. Whatever men on earth may think, it does not change the fact that Jesus is the Creator of all things. He created all people; he created you and he created me. Therefore he is Supreme in all things as well. Men ought to give their lives to Jesus for many reasons. But men and women ought to give their lives to Jesus because he is the author of our lives and the owner of our lives. There are so many in the world who do not know truly who Jesus is. So they live their lives in their own way, doing their own thing. But Jesus is the author and owner of all things, including our lives. We surrender our lives to Jesus because our Lord Jesus created us, and our lives belong to him in the first place. We surrender our lives by submitting to his authority and by obeying his words.

all things were created For Jesus. Read verse 16. “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” Paul not only tells the Colossian Christians that Jesus is the creator God, but he tells them the purpose of creation as well. He teaches them that By Jesus all things were made, and he also teaches them that For Jesus all things were made as well. There are two questions that have baffled the human race form the beginning of time until this very day. There is the question of “Who am I”? And the other one is “What is my purpose of life?” People have been debating these life questions forever. But the answer is if men are willing to look to the Bible, the very Word of the Living God. “Who am I”? I am a creation of God, and therefore I am a child of God. This truth gives me true identity. In the world men learn that they are an accident of nature, the design of many a million years of evolvement into the human being they are today. This lie has caused more sorrow and fatalism than all the wars that have devastated the human spirit and plunged it to what it is today. But we are not an accident. We were created by the Word of God and therefore we are his children. There is nothing more comforting to the human spirit than to know its origins, that it belongs to a God. That glorious identity alone is cause for the human spirit not to despair but to look Old Testament heaven for grace and comfort in a mad world. The other question, “What is the purpose of my life” is also equally as important. According to the words of Paul here, we were created for him— for Jesus. This gives us purpose for life. That we were not created to labor all the days of our lives for measly survival, but that we were created for him alone. That we were created for him is the glorious purpose of our lives. We were created to honor and worship him, to bless and praise him, to serve and love him, to be with him forever. Isn’t this why the Lord Jesus came to this world! He came to restore meaning to our otherwise meaningless lives. He came to bring the beaten down human spirit from the depth of the drudgery of survival to the heights of service to God.

Peter was a fisherman. He fished every day of his life in order to make enough money to feed his family. He was a good and hard working man. But he was living under the oppression of a meaningless life. What human being who has even a bit of honor would accept that his or her life is nothing more than toiling to live and living only to die in the dust of the earth, and to be forever forgotten! When Peter lived like this, he was not a man but a slave to the curse of survival. Then Jesus took him out to sea. He loved him dearly. He restored his failed night of fishing. He revealed himself to him as the Living God who is Lord of the Oceans and of the Fishes of the ocean. Then Peter for the first time recognized the Living God in Jesus. At that moment he felt helpless, and weak and sinful. He felt as if his life had no meaning. He felt as if he had lived in vain, and labored in vain, because he had only lived for himself and not for God. He said to Jesus: “Lord, go away from me, for I am a sinful man.” And Jesus told him in return: “Do not be afraid, from now on you will catch men.” What a glorious day it was for Peter, that Jesus rescued him from the fear and dread of a life of survival and restored to him the true purpose of his life. His true purpose of life was to be a fisherman for God. To bring them back to God their Savior. Paul tells us that Jesus created all things by himself and for himself. We were not created to labor for survival. We were not created to live miserable under privileged lives. We were not created to suffer in the endless meaninglessness of life thrown to the whims of fate. We were created for him. You were created for him. You were created to stand tall as God’s instrument. For this reason Jesus came. He came to die for our sins. He came to restore us to life, and to set us on a course of serving God. (Lk 1:74) If you have not yet received Jesus’ forgiveness through repentance and in faith, you cannot know the true meaning of your life.

Jesus holds all things together. Read verse 17. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Jesus is the creator God, for he is before all things. He has been there from the beginning and will forever be unto eternity. But Jesus is not only the Creator God, he is the one who holds all things together. In other words Jesus is the sustainer of all things. After creating all things, Jesus sustained creation. When we look at the world and the way it has been from the time immemorial, we wonder how is that this world has not yet collapsed in on itself. Nature is furious and unforgiving, destroying all things in its path. Men are also merciless and violent by nature. They say that if the earth shifts even a foot closer to the sun, the earth would burn. How is it that we have been sustained throughout the ages? Who has put a muzzle on man’s violence and has kept a remnant of humanity alive? Who has put a muzzle on nature so that it does not rise to devour us? Surely Jesus has. Jesus has sustained all things from the beginning of time, and still does so till this very day— until he lifts his hand on day, and this world as we know it will finally be left to its self destruction. It is Jesus who also sustains our lives. How precious is Jesus who send his rain on the wicked and the righteous alike, who loves the sinner enough to sacrifice himself on our behalf? And when he has delivered us, he also sustains us. Some Christians wonder at times in fear at the unpredictable future. But when we have faith in the Sustainer Lord Jesus we have nothing to worry about. He created us, he redeemed us, and he sustains us, all the days of our lives. Jesus taught his disciples the essence of faith that sustains us: He taught us to lift our heads up to heaven and pray: “Lord, give us each day our daily bread.” He taught us this prayer so that we may know where our sustenance comes from, whether physical sustenance or spiritual sustenance. Let us not sin against him with unreasonable doubts and foolish anxieties.

Jesus is the head of the body, the church. Read verse 18. “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.”  Jesus the creator God is also the head of the body, the church. Every body needs a head and every head needs a body, and there is only one body that corresponds to one head. If Carl’s head should be on Wendy’s body or Wendy’s head should be on Carl’s body, it would be an abomination. So also the body of believers, the whole Christian congregation of the world, the church universal has only one head—  Jesus. These days, people and nations walk about as if they were abominations, either because they have no head, or the head they put is created thing that is an idol. Men are proud. They refuse to have a head. They think they are their own head. That too is an abomination— a headless man or headless woman.  Others have donned heads that are so twisted by the corruption of this world, that their bodies quickly decay. God did not create human beings to be without a head— to be without life. Likewise God did not create the church of believers to have no head. He made us to submit to our head Christ Jesus. Jesus is not only the redeemer of the church but he is the Head of the church. He is the Supreme commander of the church. So the church ought to submit to the leader, the Head of its body, in faith and in obedience. As in the time of the Colossian Christians, so also in our time there are countless heresies infiltrating the church. It is a heresy when a church abandons the teachings of its Head and replace them with men’s teachings in the name of acceptance, in the name of progress, in the name of not standing out as bigots or old fashioned. It is a heresy when a church looks more to social teachings than to Gospel teachings. It is a heresy when a church or a body of believers create their own doctrine and put on a head of their own just so to make peace with a corrupt world. But as for us, Jesus is the head. He alone must rule our church and our hearts. He alone is worthy to guide the body in and through his words and teachings. May God help us in these last times not to weaken to the pressures of the world, but to stand firm with our Head— Jesus— as the Leader and guide of our lives.

Jesus is the firstborn from among the dead. Read verse 18. “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.”  This again is not chronology but supremacy—  the preeminence of Christ Jesus among all things in heaven and on earth. Jesus came to this world fully aware that he would give his life as ransom sacrifice for the sins of the world. He came to this world with the full assurance that when he had sacrificed his life for the sins of the world, he would rise again from the dead, having defeated sin and death completely. Jesus was the first to rise from the dead. He had to be the first among all men to suffer, and die and to rise form the dead. He had to fulfill all the prophesies that make him supreme in all things in heaven and on earth. He had to be the first to set the example of faith. He surrendered his life. Then he took it up again. And so began the history of the resurrection. When his disciples saw his death and resurrection, and believed in their hearts that he was the Messiah, the King of kings and Lord of lords, they lost all fear of death. They embraced death in the cause of giving Gospel life to all those who heard and believed as they did. Jesus had been the first and so the disciples followed in his example, shirking fear and danger in all things. We live in a world that abhors and trembles at the prospect of death. Men seem strong but even the mere thought of death cows them. But when a man or woman believe in Jesus, that awesome resurrection faith of the Firstborn from among the dead floods their hearts. And they are filled with the courage to defy death, and to believe in life instead. After Jesus declared to Martha these eternal words: “”I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies. and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” He said: “Do you believe this?” This is a question we must ask ourselves as well. Do we believe that he is the resurrection and the life! believing is life.

Jesus is Supreme over all things in heaven and on earth. Read verse 18 again. “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.”  “So that in everything he might have the supremacy.” What glorious words to comfort our hearts that this world is not abandoned to fate, nor to its own wickedness. But that the Lord Jesus is Lord over all and the world is under his Supremacy. He is supreme over all things. He rules the heavens and the earth. He rules our lives and the lives of all who will surrender their lives to him in faith.

Read verse 19. “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.” When Paul thought about the Lordship and supremacy of our Lord Jesus, he was elated, because Jesus who died and rose from the dead as Lord and Savior is worthy of all things, especially of Supremacy and Lordship. Yet Paul finalizes these eternal words regarding who is Jesus with these words, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.” Perhaps these words may remove any shred of doubt as to the person and identity of Jesus. He is God, the image of the invisible God. He is the Creator of all things. He is the sustainer of all. He is the head of the church. He is the firstborn among the dead. And finally God was deeply pleased to have all his fullness— the fullness of God himself—  dwell in Jesus. He is God, and God is him. When we consider who is Jesus, we must know that Jesus was God. For to know Jesus— and who he is— is eternal life.

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