Sunday, 5 February 2017

Seeing the Invisible - Colossians 1:15 - 23

Look, focus and see Jesus! These verses from Paul are arguably in a poem format - perhaps used to express the early Christian's belief in Jesus. It is a clear call to look to Jesus. Paul himself was very logical, but he knew that faith was not merely an intellectual exercise, but based on seeing the risen Jesus. For those enquiring about faith, help them to see Jesus.

Jesus is described as the firstborn, meaning the head, the ultimate ancestor, all tracing back to him as we heard in John chapter 1. All things are created though him - which includes the unseen as well as the seen. So the 'heavens' and the spiritual realm were created through him too. This includes all powers, rulers, dominion - even if now they have become dodgy, distorted or downright ungodly!

The poem reaches its climax in verses 17 & 18, declaring that in him all things hold together. With the simplicity of a child's tower built on just one brick at the base, all the weight of the whole universe rests on him! The problem is not the foundation, but that not all of creation wants to stay in line - much has become misaligned, leading to the broken world we experience today.

Yet in Jesus there is a way for all things to be restored, to be put back together, back in line. This process started in the physical Jesus, buried and put in a tomb ... yet raised again - hence now described as the firstborn among the dead.

As individuals we can discover this, and receive Jesus, birthing a process in us that brings us into line, finding our true role and purpose. We can be joined with others in these restoring purposes of God, forming what is known as 'the church', the called people of God. The head, the first over this diverse collection of people is of course the one who provided the way - Jesus. So our key question this week is:

Key Qn: [IN] How is Jesus leading you with others to be church?
Challenge: Re-think how you see the rest of the world in the light of Jesus

The poem closes by mirroring its beginning. Everything about God is in the Son. This gives theologians a headache because wasn't Jesus as human somehow limited? Despite this paradox there are real and practical implications: he is the one to reconcile all things in creation. Again that really is all things: seen and unseen, authorities, powers, the whole lot ... done in the physical action of Jesus dying on the cross. The cross is incredibly powerful, literally a cosmic event! That is why when we pray over a difficult issue, we seek Jesus and to put his cross between the person and the issue.

The next verses (21 to 23) are our response. Once we were alienated, not in line, our mind not understanding, not seeing Jesus. But Jesus, through his death on the cross, has done enough, he has enabled you to be brought back and reconciled. More than this, Jesus can present you without blemish, as if there was never a bad mark on you. That is what God wants, for each and everyone, every molecule, every structure, even every power. Knowing this should make us see the rest of the world differently, as per the challenge above.

This is the faith in Jesus that we have, the good news to share, that we are knitted together into. Together in this we are called 'church', with the invitation to covenant together to be and to share this good news to those around us. What will you do and how will you see the world around you with the unique perspective that stems from seeing Jesus?

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