Day 38

The Centrality of Christ

from the Lent 2016 reading plan


Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 1:3, Revelation 21:1-7

BY Guest Writer

Text: Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 1:3, Revelation 21:1-7

This is part of a 10-day series on the person of Christ in the 2016 Lent study.

Image is a powerful thing.

You and I live in a unique time in history—the digital media age—where much of our communication is free, immediate, and global. We can pretty much say whatever we want, to whomever we want, whenever we want. And with the power of social media, we have a tremendous amount of control over the image we portray of ourselves.

Not long ago, a group of models and actresses began posting pictures of themselves without makeup, as a protest against the impossible standards of physical beauty their industries demanded of them. Their point was that without Photoshop, makeup, and lighting, they looked just like the rest of us.

Our beauty should be found in what we really are—not some doctored-up, false image. Our images should reveal our true selves.

Today’s Scripture passage talks about the true image of Christ. The focus, however, is not on His physical appearance, but on His divine essence. When Paul says that Jesus Christ is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) and the “exact imprint of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3), he is making the profoundly startling claim that Jesus Christ is God.

It’s a claim not everyone accepts. The religious leaders of Jesus’ time cried blasphemy at such claims (John 10:31-39), so it’s not surprising that blasphemy became the central charge levied against Jesus leading to His crucifixion (Luke 22:66-71). The problem is that the religious leaders were both right and wrong about Jesus. They were right in concluding that when Jesus said, “before Abraham was I am” (John 8:58), He was claiming to be God. But they were wrong when they judged His claim to be false.

What the Bible teaches—and what the church has upheld throughout history—is that God and man can only be reconciled through a man who is God. Only someone who could perfectly represent both the image of God and the image of man could forge the peace that is needed between the two.

Jesus demonstrated the perfect holiness of God as God.
He also represented the perfect righteousness required of man as a man.

Jesus both offered and became the perfect sacrifice for the world’s sin as the God-man, making Him the only One who could accomplish the perfect reconciliation of all things.

All of Jesus’s “I AM” statements come together to give the world the image of who He truly is—the Son of God and the Savior of sinners. “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19-20).

Thanks be to God.

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Pastor Nate Shurden is one of the local pastors who serves She Reads Truth & He Reads Truth by providing theological oversight and pastoral counsel. Nate holds a Masters of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS. In 2010, he helped plant Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Franklin, TN, where he still serves as the senior pastor. He is married to Christy, and they have four young children.

Post Comments (61)

61 thoughts on "The Centrality of Christ"

  1. churchmouse says:

    Lots to ponder this morning from these passages and the devotion. Image is indeed a powerful thing and promoting oneself in the best light is natural, yet deceptive. Presenting oneself honestly – the good and the not so much – this is my desire. To be willing to be that vulnerable with safe people in safe places. (Oh yes, I’ve been burned in my vulnerability so wisdom is needed.) So grateful that Jesus is transparent through His Word. That He is honestly Who He says He is. All the time. And that by the Cross, we can know Him and are reconciled to Him. He calls us His friends! And all that I am, the good and the not so much, is loved by Him. That. Is . Just. Awesome.

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Happy Friday, churchmouse! Grateful for your thoughts today. Love to you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  2. Beverly says:

    Jesus is “the only One who could accomplish the perfect reconciliation of all things.”
    Surveying my little world, I often see ‘all the things’ that don’t look the way I would like or want or expect them to look … praying these words would wash over my ungrateful heart: Jesus (not me) perfectly reconciles EVERYTHING to Himself.
    So many things in this life are not mine to control or judge or change or fix. Jesus did this, He does this. He has already restored everything in my life – no matter how it may look to me – it is finished. I can rest here, dwelling in His great love and goodness over my world. Knowing that “all things have been created THROUGH Him and FOR Him… and BY Him ALL things hold together” (Col 1:16-17). He has all power, all might over it all – my life, this world, ‘all the things’ are in His perfect hands. He was the perfect sacrifice. He is the perfect redeemer.
    And He gives grace, abundant grace. Grace for today. Grace for all my days. Grace for everything in my world. Grace for my emotions. Grace for my imperfections. Grace for my life, everything is a precious gift from God. I am free to embrace my life in and by and through His amazing grace. I will choose to survey my world with gratitude, focused on Him in ALL things. Grateful for His sacrificial love and merciful grace.

    1. churchmouse says:

      Beverly, rejoicing with you over His abundant gift of daily and forever grace!

    2. Dupree says:

      Love this!

    3. Angi says:

      Amen! Thank you for sharing your incite.

  3. Caroline @ In Due Time says:

    I am so thankful that as easy as it is to become wrapped up in my physical or emotional image, my true image and identity is ALWAYS in who Christ has called me to be. Thankful that I am His chosen daughter.

    http://www.in-due-time.com

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      So grateful for these truths, Caroline! Blessings to you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  4. Joanna says:

    Hi sisters. I have had a lot on my mind lately so I haven’t been as active in responding but I am still reading the devotionals and your wonderful comments!

    Today’s devotional struck me because for years I struggled with my looks. Even though I received compliments from others, especially men, I still felt empty. For my 30th birthday, I even treated myself to a professional photoshoot. I had an amazing time doing it, but when the images came back, I pointed out so many flaws in my appearance. In the end, the entire book I purchased was photoshopped. When I posted the images on Facebook, everyone ooohed and aaahed at my “flawless skin.”

    It wasn’t until I began to seek Jesus that I started to look inside to accept myself. After accepting Him and His perfectly Divine presence, I decided to remove a huge crutch; I removed the full length mirror in my bedroom. I spent so much time critiquing myself in it, I felt that it could now be spent reading the Word and focusing on how to enrich my life through Him. I even began leaving the house with no makeup on. At first it felt foreign, but now I am able to appreciate the way God made me.

    When I stopped filling myself with vanity and became preoccupied with my love for God instead, I began to change from the outside and the inside.

    He is the reflection I see in the morning when I look briefly in the bathroom mirror.

    1. Shelia says:

      Joanna, you probably shared the heart of many women of today. Our society has placed so much emphasis on the outward appearance that it’s rare to see the true heart of a person. Your words spoke to me this morning. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    2. Beverly says:

      Beautiful story, Joanna. Grateful to read your words this morning.

    3. Caro says:

      Thanks for your honesty! I have felt that way so many times, and the end is as you mentioned is only emptiness but Jesus is faithful to redirect my heart to the true beauty.
      Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
      but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Prov 31:30

  5. Joanna says:

    Oh wow, this is amazing.

  6. Kathy says:

    “He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” I love this verse. I read an interesting thing when my Sunday School class did a study on Colossians. When scientists discovered the atom they discovered that in the atom there are protons and neutrons. Protons have a positive charge and neutrons have no charge. They also discovered that these two things shouldn’t be able to live side by side in the nucleus of an atom. There is a force at work in the nucleus of every atom trying hard to destroy it from within. They also discovered that there’s a second force in the nucleus that fights against the force that splits and holds it all together. It’s like “nuclear glue”. Scientist explain that within the atom there exists two conflicting laws of science – one says it’s going to blow up but something is holding it together. Every object is a potential nuclear explosive but something or someone holds it together – this nuclear glue. Anyway, I don’t completely understand the science but scientist named this nuclear glue “Colossus”. But Colossians tells us that Jesus is what holds it all together. I find that so amazing. Jesus is in all things, down to the very atoms that make up our being.
    Have a blessed weekend.

    1. Kristi says:

      Thanks you for sharing this Kathy I love it!

      1. Juli says:

        What a beautiful analogy. Such a comfort to us , His followers to know He is before all things, and in Him all things consist -Col 1:17. In the next chapter of Colossians Paul tells us ‘you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power’. Finally, what comfort to know that in Him we can live and move and have our very being- Acts 17:28. What a personal God we serve that does not dwell in temples made with hands but in the heart of every believer who invites Him in and receives Him as LORD!!

    2. Gema Muniz says:

      Another interesting fact is that the nuclear glue which Kathy talks about is shaped like a cross. God is so amazing, that he is in everything and every where.

      1. Megan says:

        Wow! Powerful!!

    3. Sana says:

      That is sooo amazing thank you for sharing!

    4. Jennyb says:

      In response to Kathy’s post, I was reminded of the word laminitis. It also has to do with the molecules that hold us together. Google it. The shape of the molecule is amazing and a stark reminder that He does indeed hold everything together.

      1. Jennyb says:

        Should read “laminin”. Sorry, autocorrect.

      2. missycm says:

        Google “Laminin Louie Giglio” for a great video explaining it.

    5. Allison says:

      Thanks for sharing this !!! Praising God for Jesus’ presence in everything!ppresencepretense

    6. Sonja says:

      So cool! Thanks for sharing!

    7. afeddes says:

      wow love this thanks for sharing what a powerful image! the war God holds us together against is also a war inside of us because of our sinful human nature but in His grace he created a way to hold us together literally and metaphorically! wowza

    8. Rochelle says:

      Wow!! Thank you for sharing this today’s! My mind is blown :)

    9. Miriam Miles says:

      Thanks for sharing this! I love the beauty of his creation!

  7. Sarah says:

    Our beauty should be found in what we really are—not some doctored-up, false image. Our images should reveal our true selves. > I loved this! SRT-staff, is it possible to have soms studies about beauty and the bible and womanhood?

    1. Christy says:

      I think you can still download the women in the word plans from last summer, which were great and discussed many of those same themes.

      1. Sarah says:

        Thanks! Ill take a look! :)

  8. Tina says:

    I have no idea why , I’m not even sure this song was necessarily appropriate for this writing, but I was led to it…
    So for your worship today, http://youtu.be/X0COhHYlymI

    Isn’t He wonderful…isn’t He, isn’t He, isn’t He..

    Hugs to you all Dear hearts,,,xxx

    1. Sarah says:

      Loved it! Thank you!

      1. Shari says:

        Oh, thank you, Tina, for the link. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard that wonderful old song – a beautiful worship song for this morning for sure. And P.S. I appreciate You and your heart so very much!

    2. Shari says:

      Ooops, I accidentally replied to Sarah, so hugs and thanks to you both. :)

    3. Shelia says:

      Loved it. Thanks for sharing.

    4. Jodi says:

      Hi Tina I couldn’t find anything with that link. Can you give me the name of it please?

      1. Tina says:

        Jodie the song is called Isn’t He wonderful.. by John wimber..http://youtu.be/X0COhHYlymI
        Blessings..

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