Dr. John Blanchard estimated that since the dawn of civilization, about 60 billion people have walked planet Earth. Of those, only a handful made a lasting impression that actually changed the world. And of that handful, One stands head and shoulders above all others. His name is Jesus.
More attention, devotion, criticism, adoration, and opposition have been given to Jesus Christ than any other person. Every recorded word He said has been sifted, analyzed, scrutinized, and debated—more than all the historians, philosophers, and scientists put together. After 2,000 years, there is never one minute that millions are not studying what He said. Think about it. Here’s a person who lived in a tiny land two millennia ago, yet His birth divides our calendar into BC and AD.
He never wrote a book that we know of, yet library after library could be filled with volumes written about the Lord Jesus. He never painted a picture so far as we know, and yet the world’s greatest artists have painted Him. The world’s greatest dramas, music, and literature have Jesus of Nazareth as their inspiration. He had no formal education. He didn’t attend the university or seminary, yet thousands of universities, seminaries, colleges, and schools have been built in the name of Jesus Christ. In my opinion, no one can be called educated who does not understand Jesus Christ. The great historian Kenneth Scott Latourette said, “Jesus has had more effect on the history of mankind than any other of its race who ever existed.”
He never raised an army, yet multiplied millions have been martyred for Him. He never traveled far from His birthplace, yet His testimony has gone around the world. He had only a handful of followers, yet those men changed the world. He had a public ministry of only three years, yet here we are, 2000 years later, saying “Jesus, Your name is wonderful,” because His name is.
To explain Jesus Christ is impossible; to ignore Him is disastrous; to reject Him is fatal. Human speech is too limited to describe Him, the human mind too small to comprehend Him, and the human heart can never completely absorb who Jesus Christ is. To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to trust Him. To trust Him is to be radically, dramatically, and eternally transformed.
What does God, His Father, say about who Jesus is?
In Colossians 1:13, God claims to have…
13 …delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son:
God does have a Son. He says: “He is My dear Son.” And He has a kingdom.
But let’s go on. What else does God say?
Atoning Sacrifice; Savior
14 In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
He is the One in whom we have redemption—Jesus alone was the atoning sacrifice for our sin (v.14).
Exact Image of God
15 He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God…
Jesus is the very image of God—“image” means the exact representation and likeness of God. Sometimes when we get our picture made, we lament, “Oh, that’s not a very good picture of me….” But God says Jesus is the very image of Himself (15).
Colossians 2:9 sums it up:
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
If you want to know God, you must know Jesus. All of God was in Bethlehem’s babe. Jesus is the express image of the invisible God.
My pastor friend Dr. Jerry Vines imagines Jesus Christ going into the temple and having a conversation with the teachers when he was a 12 year old boy. And one of the learned doctors there strokes his beard and says, “Son, how old are You?” “Well,” He says, “on My mother’s side, I’m 12 years old, but on My Father’s side, I’m older than My mother and as old as My Father.”
You see, He was both God and man.
On His mother’s side, He got thirsty; on His Father’s side, He was the water of life.
On His mother’s side, His humanity, He got hungry; on His Father’s side, His deity, He took a little lad’s lunch and fed five thousand.
On His mother’s side, He was homeless, without a place to lay His head; on His Father’s side, He owned the cattle on a thousand hills.
On His mother’s side, He wept at the grave of Lazarus; on His Father’s side, in His deity, He said, “Lazarus, come forth,” and raised him from the dead.
He was God in human flesh, the exact image.
The Exalted One
15…the firstborn of every creature
Don’t get the idea that “firstborn” implies a beginning. This doesn’t mean that Jesus was created first, then all other creatures followed later. Jesus never had a beginning. There never was a time when Jesus was not. Jesus said in the Gospel of John: “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Not “I was,” “I AM.” He is the great I AM. He never had a beginning. He has always existed in a state, never a start. He didn’t have His beginning at Bethlehem.
Then what does “firstborn” mean? It speaks of honor and privilege, of His exalted position. “And He,” Jesus, “is before all things.” (v. 17)
He Himself could not be “created.” Why? Because all things were created by Him.
16 For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him:
God says it was Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, at work during Creation.
Whether things in Heaven or things on Earth, everything was made by Jesus and for Jesus.
17 And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.
Do you know what the word consist means? That they stick together. Jesus Christ is the glue of the galaxies. What is it that keeps it all from falling apart or coming apart? Jesus. Jesus is the One who feeds the sun with its fuel. Jesus is the One who guides the planets in their orbit around the sun. Jesus is the One who has set out all of the stars. Talk about natural law. There’s no “natural law.” They’re the laws of Jesus that nature obeys. It is by Jesus that all things consist. By Him, all things hold together.
Head of the Church
18 And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead…
The Preeminent One
18 “…that in all things He might have pre-eminence.”
Jesus doesn’t want “a place” in your life. He doesn’t wish for “prominence.” He deserves and demands pre-eminence.
Peacemaker, Reconciler, Redeemer
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him [His Son] should all fullness dwell. 20 And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him [Jesus] to reconcile all things unto Himself, by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in Heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled.”
Revealer of the Father
Without Jesus Christ, how are you, a human being, going to know God? God is Spirit, invisible, unfathomable, unapproachable. How are you going to know Him? Not by reason. Not by religion. Not by ritual. Only by revelation—as God chooses to reveal Himself to you. Jesus reveals the Father. Jesus is the exact representation of the invisible God. The visible Jesus makes the invisible God known.
You can never fully know God the Father apart from God the Son.
Do you want to know God? Friend, Jesus Christ has cornered the market. He has a monopoly on revealing the Father. The only way you’re going to know God is through Him. Jesus Himself said:
“All things are delivered unto Me of My Father, and no man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father except the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” Matthew 11:27
Now either that’s true or it’s not true. He says, “Nobody knows My Father but Myself, and you can’t know Him unless I introduce Him to you.” Why? Because Jesus is the express image of God. That’s a big statement.
You’re never going to figure God out. How can the finite understand the infinite? Not by reason, but by revelation. Any other god you worship is the god of your guesses, and that’s a form of idolatry. You don’t conjure up some god to worship. Jesus came to reveal the Father. You can’t know the Father apart from Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t say, “I’m a way.” He said: “I am THE way.” He didn’t say, “I am a life.” He said: “I am THE life. I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He is God manifest in the flesh.
Do you want to know God? Would you like to know what the great, invisible God is like, who He is? Would you like to know His heart? Friend, you’ll only find Him in Jesus, in whom all the fullness of God dwells.
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