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Jesus Lord of All

We are going to start today by reading Colossians 1:15–20. This text is often thought to be a creedal statement or song sung in the early church. It expresses the lordship of Christ as well as any other statements in the scripture.

Colossians 1:15–20

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

On this theme of our work participating with Christ in his redemption of creation it is important to remember that Christ has already won the victory. He is already lord of all creation. He has brought his kingdom in part, and it will be fully realized upon his return. This is what theologians call the “already-not yet” tension.

This is why, in part, coming to Jesus and taking his yoke (his teaching, his law, and his way of life) upon us is easy and leads to rest. He is the authority in creation—”all things were created through him and for him”. He has already won the victory of reconciling all things to himself by his death on the cross. Now our work is participating with him in fulfilling and finalizing this reconciliation of all creation.

There are so many amazing things to unpack in these verses but we will focus on what is most pertinent to our topic of redemptive work.

To clarify heaven here means the sky and the universe, everything in creation outside the earth, not necessarily God’s space where he dwells

Verses 19-20 are especially pertinent to our topic in this series. Here, Paul says that God is reconciling all things to himself through Jesus. This is the functional result of Christ being the first to rise from the dead (v. 18). The creation in rebellion against God since the fall of Gen. 3 is now being reconciled back to God.

This message of reconciliation and making peace would bring to mind the military propaganda of the Roman empire. The emperors would be called “peacemakers” because of their military actions to pacify any rebellion or destabilizing force. Jesus however makes peace and brings reconciliation not by taking life through military conquest but by giving up his own in the greatest act of love. His peace is made “by the blood of his cross”.

It is not just humans who are being reconciled to God; it is “all things”, animate and inanimate objects in creation. Christ’s death accomplished more than just the salvation of sinners. He has accomplished the reconciliation of all creation! He is reconciling all of creation which has been subject to the curse. He is making all things new, which we will discuss tomorrow.

this doesn’t mean that all people will be saved because that would go against many other texts that teach the necessity of faith in Jesus for salvation.

If Jesus is reconciling all thing to himself through his death on the cross, then our work in structuring and building the culture, making something of the world, is participating with Christ in his future full redemption—the kingdom coming in full. Looking back to Genesis 1 it is fulfilling the creation (ie. cultural) mandate. Looking forward, it is working with Christ to bring his fully remade creation (Rev. 21). In the meantime, when we do this by coming to Jesus, we find that his yoke is easy and his burden is light, and he gives us rest.

ff to 5:09 for additional content

Additional Content

Bible Project Podcast: What does the word “gospel” mean? 

I’ve included a portion of a bible project interview with historian and bible scholar NT Wright. Here they are discussion the use of the word gospel in the 1st c. Greco-Roman world. He puts the word gospel in its historical context and how the emperors would use the word to indicate their peacemaking through conquest. The biblical writers use the word in a competing narrative fashion talking about Jesus victory.

Reflection

Today celebrate the victory of Jesus and his lordship over all of creation. He has reconciled all things to himself. He is already lord of creation so when we work to redeem creation we are working with the one who has already won. That’s a joy and honor.