Part 3 – Colossians 1:15-20
Jesus is preeminent in everything.
To be preeminent means to be superior. The word “preeminent” comes from the Greek word “proteuo,” which means to be foremost, or to rank first. It’s where we get our word “prototype,” which is the original version of something. Thirteen times within six short verses Paul specifically references Jesus and emphasizes His preeminence in all things. He is superior. He ranks first. He is the prototype, the original version.
Jesus is preeminent in everything. Specifically:
- Jesus, being God, is the perfect, visible “image” of God Himself.
- Jesus is the prototype human, the “firstborn over all creation.”
- Jesus created all things “in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible.”
- Jesus is the source of all authority.
- Jesus is the purpose of all creation, since all things were created “for Him.”
- Jesus came first. He preceded creation. He is “before all things.”
- Jesus is holding everything together.
- Jesus is the head of the church.
- Jesus demonstrated His preeminence by becoming “firstborn from the dead.”
- Jesus is the superior human, as “God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him.”
- Jesus’ blood enabled reconciliation and peace between God and man.
The weight of Paul’s statements is purposeful and staggering. In the midst of theological divide within the Colossian church, Paul points them toward the preeminence of Jesus Christ. Jesus must be at the center of everything, because He is the center of everything. He is superior. He created the world, He entered the world, He saved the world, and He is in complete control of the world.
In our culture today it is very common for individuals to assert preeminence in their own lives, as if we all know what’s best for ourselves and have the power to make it happen. The Gospel says we can trust Jesus with our lives since we are here because of Jesus and for Jesus, and He demonstrated His trustworthiness by His resurrection from the dead. Paul reinforces these truths, hoping that the church in Colossae would anchor themselves in the Gospel rather than continue to be divided over theology.
- What are some prevailing views in our culture regarding the question of who created the world? Why does it make a difference theologically to know and believe that Jesus authored the universe?
- Are you confident in the preeminence of Jesus? In what ways are you tempted to trust yourself rather than Jesus?
- What are you thankful for?
Go outside and look up at the sky. Breathe the air. Feel your heartbeat. Thank God for creating everything you see, for giving you life, and for sending Jesus to save. Develop the practice of thanking God daily for at least one thing you would normally take for granted. If you keep a journal, keep an “I’m thankful for…” list to help remind yourself of the preeminence of Jesus.