Meditations in Colossians: 35. Jesus Supreme
Col 1:19 he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
There is a question that will face every human being: “What do you think of Jesus Christ?” If the answer is not, “He is the Son of God who died for me, he is my Lord and my Saviour,” any other answer will be inadequate.
Our verse above is devastating in its clarity and yet so many fail to see and accept the truth that is in it. Jesus, being the firstborn among the dead, we said, referred to Jesus resurrection and his place now at the head of the church. There is no other religious leader throughout history of whom this claim is made. You can accept it or reject it but the claim is there throughout the New Testament, not once but many times and in many ways – Jesus Christ died and then rose from the dead after three days. What this should do is make any person stop, pause, think, reflect, read, study and draw conclusions that should result in them on their knees before God. Jesus is supreme, above all others. It should have us earnestly seeking God for what He is trying to say to us through Jesus.
Until the resurrection you might say of Jesus, he was a good man, he was a great teacher or he was a great healer or he was a great miracle worker. All of those descriptions would have been accurate but all of them would fall short of the truth and show that you had missed so much of what was in the New Testament. We might have missed the essential truth that comes through so much of what Jesus said about himself – until you come to the resurrection. Then, surely, any wise person says, “Hold on, what have we got here? This has not happened to any other person in history. What is going on here? Who is this?” And they go back and read again.
Doing that they may stumble over the truth that leaps out again and again from the New Testament Scriptures. For example, listen to Jesus own words in chapter 5 of John’s Gospel: “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him.” (Jn 5:21-23) See what he claims about himself. He is a life-giver just like God, his Father. He is a judge, just like the Judge, his Father. He is the one who determines who lives and who dies in eternity. How does he do that? By assessing the way people respond to him. Those who see who he is and honour him, honour God. Failure to honour him means failure to honour God. He is the measuring stick or the arbiter of what is truly religious, who truly loves and honours God. How can you possibly read about Jesus in the Gospels and walk away untouched? Many do because of the blindness of sin.
Even with him there, many rejected him because of their blindness. Jesus said, “The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, 26but you do not believe because you are not my sheep,” (Jn 10:25) and “even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (Jn 10:38) There he was in their midst performing signs and wonders – miracles – and still they did not believe him. That in itself should have lifted him in their estimation but they were to busy trying to protect their own reputations to see the wonder of who he was. The power that he exhibited and the incredible numbers of healings that he did should have elevated him above all others. But then comes his death and an onlooking centurions sees the truth and declares, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (Mk 15:39) But then he rose from the dead and showed himself to his followers and they knew, and their lives we never the same again.
But then he ascended to heaven before their very eyes so that now they could declare, “Now he sits on the throne of highest honour in heaven, at God’s right hand,” (Acts 2:33) and “God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name,” (Phil 2:9). It wasn’t just the apostle Paul who made such declarations: “He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honour beside God’s throne in heaven,” (Heb 12:2) and “He is seated in the place of honour next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers are bowing before him.” (1 Peter 3:22) This is where he is today. Supreme!
In these studies we have seen Jesus displayed as the unique Son of God, begotten before Creation. The one who alongside God his Father helped bring all things into being, and the one who upholds all things by his word. We have seen him as the miracle working wonder teacher but even more we have seen him die and be raised from the dead, and if nothing previously had moved us, that should have done. But now we have seen him ascended on high, seated at his Father’s right hand ruling. The testimony of the New Testament is sure and clear. So, back to the beginning, “What do you think of Jesus Christ?”