Michael Porter - Jesus Is Supreme
Christ is Supreme
July 21, 2019
Michael A. Porter
Christ is central to the Christian faith. Jesus himself asserted this in John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” Because of this, the most important thing we must know about a person is what they believe about Christ. And while there are many passages that talk about the person and work of Jesus Christ, Colossians 1:15-20 covers all the essentials and encapsulates them in just three words: Christ is Supreme.
Below is a condensed outline of my much longer message on Colossians 1:15-20. Again, the big idea of this message is simple: Christ is supreme. This will be shown with the two points listed below.
Christ is Supreme
Christ is supreme over __________________. (vv. 15-17)
Looking first at v. 15, Paul boldly declares Christ’s supremacy over creation in a twofold manner. First, Paul declares Christ as being “the image of the invisible God,” meaning that in Christ the invisible God became visible in the flesh (compare with John 1:14). Second, Paul declares Christ as being “the firstborn of creation,” which illustrates Christ’s supremacy in rank over creation, much like how the firstborn son of a royal family is of a higher rank and privilege than his younger siblings. Collectively, Paul is making the point that Jesus is not only distinct from creation as the very image of God, but also that Jesus stands supreme over creation as the unrivalled firstborn heir to the throne.
Discussion Question: What are some of your initial thoughts about this grand picture of Jesus?
Looking at vv. 16-17, Paul then provides reasons to back up the claim he made in v. 15, particularly with respect to Jesus’ status as the firstborn Lord over all creation. Looking at v. 16, his reasoning is simple: because creation was made by Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus. Looking at v. 17, Paul drives this point home further by affirming by explaining that not only did Jesus exist before creation, but it is in Jesus that creation continues to exist into the future. That said, Jesus’ supremacy over creation is obvious.
Discussion Question: What difference does realizing the supremacy of Christ over creation make in the way we live our day-to-day lives?
Christ is supreme over the _______________________. (vv. 18-20)
Following the same pattern as before, Paul boldly declares Christ’s supremacy in v. 18, and then gives his reasoning in vv. 19-20. Looking first at his claim in v. 18, we see that Paul shifts his focus from creation over to the redemption of a new creation, i.e. the church. According to v. 18, the church is not only a new creation, but it is so valuable that it is referred to as Christ’s own body! Moreover, this new creation was founded by Christ through his resurrection from the dead, and this further attests to his supremacy over everything – even over death.
Discussion Question: How might this passage be an encouragement to a believer wrestling with the question of their own worth?
Lastly, looking at vv. 19-20, Paul explains the basis for how this new creation came about. In v. 19, Paul reminds the reader that Christ was fully God in human form. Why? Because only God incarnate could accomplish what Jesus accomplished. And what did Jesus accomplish? Looking at v. 20, Paul explains that this new creation came about by the cross of Christ. The only way that true peace can be made between God and his fallen creation is by dealing with the penalty of sin – that is, death. Jesus Christ, the supreme Lord over creation, lowered him to the point of entering into his own creation as a baby, lived a sinless life undeserving of death, and yet died anyway as the ultimate offering for sin. Christ took the death penalty that rebellious humanity deserved, and by the blood of his cross, made peace between the Holy God and sinful humanity. So, Christ is supreme over creation in that he brought life out of nothing, and Christ is supreme over the new creation, the church, in that he brought life out of death. In short, he is supreme over everything.
Discussion Question: How do you respond to all of this?