Written on: April 12, 2020

Article by: George Mansfield

Observations from Colossians 1:13–23

From early times, those who have studied Jesus have disagreed over who he was and even what he was. Perhaps the earliest misunderstanding goes back to Jesus’ visit to the temple at the age of 12. His parents were upset by his absence as the family travelling home from Jerusalem. Yet when they found him in the temple and demanded an explanation, Jesus replied: “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” The answer to their question had everything to do with the full identity of Jesus.

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Warren Wiersbe, has written: “The false teachers in Colossae, like the false teachers in our own day, would not deny the importance of Jesus Christ. They would simply dethrone Him, giving Him prominence but not pre-eminence. In their philosophy, Jesus Christ was but one of many emanations that proceeded from God….” (Be Complete, a study of Colossians, p. 45).

We are probably less aware of similar situations in our day. If I might use a personal example of this, allow me to tell you about a phone call I received 40 years ago from a lady who wished to learn about Jesus from the Bible. I visited her and soon learned that she was a genuine seeker who knew very little about God’s inspired word and lots about everything else religious.

While I was sharing some Bible answers to her original inquiry, she lovingly informed me that Jesus is NOT the only ONE but was ONE of the many manifestations of deity. Here is the essence of this sincere lady’s conversation:

She was of the Baha’i faith. She said that Jesus was a prophet like all the others and God gives a new prophet every 1,000 years. Jesus was just another prophet. More recently I went to their website and found that Bahaullah described Jesus Christ, Moses, Abraham, Muhammad, Zoroaster, the Bab and himself as Manifestations of God.

These claims cannot possibly all be true.

Colossae was infested with false teachers. Their doctrines contradicted each other, yet all claimed to be true.

If Jesus was not truly ‘God with us’ and ‘God in the flesh’, then there is no salvation from sin and our faith in him cannot save us. He was more than just a ‘great man’. He was a miracle worker who claimed to be the Son of God. He was one of a kind and in a category all by himself.

Colossians chapter 1:14-23 sets out crucial information for each born again soul to know, to believe and to practice.

Even a superficial search will disclose the following: Jesus is: “The image of the invisible God,” “The firstborn of all creation,” “creator of all things,” that includes “the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him” (1:15–16). He is “Before all things” and He “holds all things together” (1:17). “The head of the …church” (1:18). The one in whom “All the fullness of the godhead dwells” (1:19). He is destined to “have first place in all things” (like our lives???). The one in whom all things will eventually be reconciled (because his cross cries out for recognition and obedience). (Note this is in heaven and earth!) He is the one who has “made peace through the blood of His cross” (1:20).

So who is this Jesus that we all should know? He is literally the one and only person we cannot live without!

Jesus is: “the one in whom we have redemption from sins” (1:14). A redeemer is one who buys back a thing or commodity or person. Canadian Tire Money used to have on it, written in plain sight, “Redeemable in store or gas bar for merchandise.” We understand the principle involved. CTC would accept these in the place of money as legal tender!

Jesus is our redeemer because He paid the awful price to our Heavenly Father for every sinner who has ever lived. Remember “there is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10; Psalm 14:1–3; 53:1–3). This truth is repeated in I Peter 3:9 – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” Our redeemer paid the full price of our redemption. This is exciting news; we sin and Jesus is our “out of jail” card. Please believe this!

If you are a child of God be thankful that someone cared. Be thankful for the one who approached you with the Good Word in their hands and heart and the Godhead whose actions have made the impossible possible! Once un-forgiven, you are now forgiven; once lost but now redeemed; an enemy of God who has been reconciled by the cross. God in turn calls you to give witness to the value and validity of His work and to respond in humility for the clarity of a faith that accepts Jesus as the one and only Son of God.

Grimsby, Ontario