Sunday, 26 September 2021

The Image of the Invisible God - Colossians 1:15 - 20

In trying to understand God, we have to come to terms with the fact that God is Spirit - He isn't someone or something that we can just see, touch or grab. God to the human eye is invisible. So we can't make an image of God, like ancient people would carve a bull and then bow down and worship it, because that would be just a physical thing and of course not God at all.

We might not make physical images ourselves, but we do allow many things (both visible and invisible) to take over and be gods of our lives. Our phones, our careers, a 'me-first' culture, and any number of things that aren't the true God. Yet God purposed from the beginning to reveal Himself through His very own creation. When God created us humans He said 'Let us make mankind in our own image'! The 'Let us ...' is God the Father/Son/Spirit speaking. The Son with the Father & Spirit stands before all creation, in fact all things are created through the Son and for the Son.

We know that humans have not done a good job of revealing God. Through our false Gods we have created distortion and brokenness, distancing God rather than revealing Him. That has been the case until the day the Son Himself enters God's own creation ... born as a baby, growing through childhood and into adulthood: a physical human being - the Son - who is the image of the invisible God. That human is Jesus: through Him we all get to see God ... this time in perfection, without the distortions.

The Son now in creation is the one through whom all things were created. When we say all things that means everything we can see, touch, and handle ... and also the stuff we can't see. The stuff that is too far away (in deep space), or too small (sub-atomic particles), or because it is not physical at all. He is first over all creation: heaven and earth - the spiritual as well as the physical. Whatever is beyond - the powers, the authorities, regardless of whether they are with God or working against God, it is through Jesus the Son that they were created.

Physicists want to know how all things hold together, they want one super equation that unifies gravity, electromagnetic forces, quarks and everything. They launch fantastic telescopes into space to gather data towards their 'big bang' theory. Yet 2,000 years ago Paul already wrote of a 'big bang': the Son Jesus, through whom all things were created, and in Him all holds together. He is the super-equation!

Jesus the Son came to reveal God, but also knowing creation was all messed up He came to reconcile - to set things right again, to enable people to see and know God. The people who get this, who accept Jesus and His great rescue, now form a body of people - a new community. This body is known to us as 'church', with Jesus as its head. Jesus is first, supreme, and leads the way. He leads even to renewed resurrection life, a life that we can live and anticipate by being in Him. So church isn't just people on a Sunday for an uplifting time, nor about a building on Chapel Street with a 'good Sunday service'. It is about people living in His purposes, with Jesus at the head, Lord over everything. Hence our key question and challenge:

Key Qn: [UP] What does it mean for you to totally surrender to Jesus as Lord and God?
Challenge: Examine all departments of your life – in which areas do you hold back?

Jesus was not just a representative, a messenger, a nice guy, a good teacher or even just a worthy example. No - God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him in bodily form. In other words the complete package of the invisible God all walking, breathing and living in Jesus! This was part of God's deal to reveal and to reconcile - bringing all things back into line, with Jesus as supreme head over everything visible or invisible, physical or spiritual.

That means that there is the possibility for reconciliation for everything and everyone. For conflicting factions in troubled areas, in any place around the world - regardless of their existing or current beliefs. It means there is the possibility for even the most extreme form of believers of other faiths, whose idealism may convince them of violent means, to be reconciled, set right, and live at peace with God and the world. This possibility is always through the Son, Jesus. The Son who suffered and shed blood on the cross.

The call to us is to submit to Jesus in everything, and be part of His revealing and reconciling work around the world.

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