November 22, 2020

Christ, The Superior King

Passage: Colossians 1:11-20

The Christians of Colosse, a city in present day Turkey, needed to hear that Jesus is The Superior King.  False teachers tried to infiltrate their minds suggesting that believing in Jesus wasn’t enough for salvation.  The false teachers encouraged the keeping of Old Testament laws.  They said without those they were condemned.  They also suggested that the Colossians needed to worship angels.  To make sure that the Colossians understood why Christ was all they needed for salvation the apostle Paul wrote to them about His nature and supremacy.  That He was there from the beginning, that all things originated because of Him and that all things hold together in Him.
Many of the Roman emperors were seen as gods.  Surely, they did some impressive things like building temples and monuments that stood hundreds of years later, but that didn’t make them gods?  The emperors themselves didn’t actually build those temples and monuments themselves.  They gave orders.  They didn’t put compass to drafting paper, or hammer to nail; they had to rely on other people to do those things.  Jesus, on the other hand, personally made everything we see and can’t see.  It is He who made the stars and all the galaxies that we can’t even see beyond a given point.  Jesus made the white blood cells that runs through our bodies attacking germs.  He made the wind and controls it, using it to determine where every seed from a plant will land.  Jesus can do all this because in Him dwells the full divinity of God.

From Colossians 1: 11-20 we first learn that Jesus Christ is 1 Superior In His Deity.  Verses 15 eliminates any doubts about our Lord’s being and nature – “He is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn over all creation.”   Firstborn in this case doesn’t mean that Jesus was created like the son or daughter of a family.  No, it means that before God’s creation could ever come into being, Jesus already existed.  He has always been the omnipresent God – the second person in the Godly Trinity.  The word for image in the Greek is “eicon.”  The literal translation of this word is “exact representation.”  Let’s talk for a moment about someone who represents a family, a person or an organization.  You can only go to fill someone’s position – you can’t be the person yourself.  When Dr. Billy Graham had to go to an Evangelism event, he took ill and his son, Franklin filled in for him.  Right at the beginning Franklin said, “I’m not my father and you will know why.”  Only Jesus became the “exact representation” of God to walk the earth.  That, because He came and lived as Emmanuel – “God with us.”  Why is Jesus not recognized as the Superior King over all that exists?  Why is He questioned and degraded by mankind?  I believe that there’s some truth in the fact that the world does not recognize Him, because the world has its own idea of what He was and is supposed to be.  The people of His time rejected Him all the way to the cross, because He wasn’t the strong Deliverer to put the Romans in their place.  And today people want Jesus to take away poverty and fear and oppression.  I can just hear some say, “Why doesn’t Jesus take care of Covid-19?”  But you know, Jesus will never allow it to be recognized for the wrong reasons.    It’s reminds me of a king in ancient Persia who wanted to prove to his people that they shouldn’t honour him for wearing a crown and sitting on a throne.  So, he dressed as a commoner and went into poor neighbourhoods and he did lowly tasks.  One day as he collected garbage with a group of men, one looked at him and said, “You look so much like the king that if you had worn a crown I would have called you, ‘Majesty.’”  The king replied, “Why can’t you recognize me for doing something noble?  Do you honestly believe that I’m above any task?”  To recognize the Superior Christ, you need to look with eyes of faith – you need to see the One Who stooped down from His heavenly throne and came to this world to be a King like no other.  He was and is a King for the right reasons.  In His deity He humbled Himself to servanthood to accomplish the Father’s mission.  And after that He was exalted to the highest position in heaven and on earth.  You need the see above all kingdoms and powers, the One Who will be acknowledged by all creatures in heaven and on earth at the end of time – even by those who pierced Him.

Paul tells us secondly that Jesus is 2 Superior Over Creation.  Verses 16 and 17, “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.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”  I don’t believe that when Paul mentioned this truth to the Colossians it was like news they received for the very first time.  No, they have heard from other believers in the regions where Jesus walked about the miracles He performed.  He demonstrated that no law, that binds any person, could hold Him back.  He took bread and fish, that came out of God’s creation and He increased it beyond human imagination.  He commanded a storm to cease and it did.  Who other than a Superior King could do that?  Paul affirmed to the Colossians how great and wonderful Jesus was above everything that exists.  And we can only bow before our King and agree with everything Paul wrote about His Superiority over Creation.  My friends,  sometimes we just have to come to a stand still and appreciate what God through His Word, His only Son, created so wonderfully.  It can be a little insect or butterfly you come across on a trail as you hike.  It can be the mighty mountains or rivers or the ocean.  For David it was his own creation that brought him to express awe to God.  In Psalm 139: 13&14, he wrote, “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Yes, over every part of creation Jesus stands superior.

Paul says that Jesus, our King, is 3 Superior Over The Church.  We read in verse 18, “And He is the Head of the body, the church.”  We aren’t the Church, because of our decision to establish the Church.  No, it was He Who called from all tribes and languages and nations and peoples His ecclesia, His assembly together.  He took the initiative as the Bridegroom.  We are the bride who waited on Him to include us, to love us, to redeem us.  He earned superiority over His church, because He loved His church so much that He laid down His life for it.  You see, though it’s true that we are a part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, we have to remember – first we are the Church of Jesus Christ.  It means my friends, He is above every General Assembly, above every Synod, above every Presbytery, above every Session, above every Board and above any person associated with any church.  You know the sad reality is that many churches function with the perception – it’s our building, our ministries, our money and our projects.  Never can any of God’s servants go with that kind of attitude.  Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone of His church – He holds everything together.  We all answer to Him, the Head of the church.  Do we minister with a humble and sensitive heart to think – “When I worship, I’m a part of Jesus’ service; when I attend a Session meeting, I’m on the appointment of the King, Jesus Christ and when I reach out to people, I’m doing it by the orders of the Head of the church”?  It’s so wonderful to see all the initiatives in churches, but we all are under the one Superior King, Jesus Christ.

Today is the last Sunday of the Church year and it’s called “Christ the King Sunday” for a reason.  We have to end the Church year in Him Who holds everything together.  But then as we worship next week we begin the new Church year with the season of Advent.  We have to remind ourselves that the promise of the Child in the manger was all about Him to come and reign and conquer as King.  We bow before our King and we acknowledge His lordship over every aspect of our lives.  All praise belong to Him in every dominion of His reign.