Worthy of Preeminent Honor
[God] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
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.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. – Colossians 1:13-23
“Dad, I’ve noticed something. When you preach, no matter what you’re talking about you end up talking about Jesus.” My son was sincerely wishing to help me be a better preacher. To be fair with him, he might have had a point. But at the same time, so did I. I want to get people to Jesus in any case, no matter what the sermon is about. For I truly believe that, “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.” That being the case, I believe he should be preeminent in my preaching.
Because Jesus is all that – and more – I feel compelled to bring the hearer to Jesus every opportunity I get. John’s gospel was given so that the readers and hearers of it would believe that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing they may have life in his name. (John 20:31) My hope is to give life to my hearers (and readers!). Hopefully you’ll encounter Jesus here regularly.
I love this passage because it gives so much glory to Jesus. Attaching words and phrases like firstborn of all creation, preeminent, image of the invisible God, and the One who holds all things together, points us to honor Jesus like none other. This is so appropriate, however, not only because of his majestic glory but even more so because of his grace and love.
A missionary working in east Asia spoke of the many people there who do not know Jesus and are not giving him the honor he deserves. That phrase caught my attention. I want Jesus to be honored. He is my Savior and Lord. He is pure and good. My friend identified her place of missionary activity as east Asia because she is actually potentially in danger if the wrong people get wind of her work where she is. But her desire to honor Jesus has moved her to this. I hope that I can honor Jesus similarly wherever I serve him – not just in my sermons or blog posts, but in all I think, say, or do. He is surely worthy of it.