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.

SRT-Lent-Instagram38s

 

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. Nikki Maddox says:

    all God and all man JESUS
    Man

  2. Loving this study so much! Don’t want it to end!!

    1. Megan says:

      Me too!! Really don’t want this to end.

  3. Laura says:

    The scripture today is quite a powerful selection! Speaks comfort to my anxious heart. I am held together in Him- body, mind and soul.

    1. Lauren says:

      My feelings exactly! So thankful for our steadfast rock that has created and conquered all!

  4. Ashley says:

    Ladies – I just published my new blog; a christian lifestyle blog about my journey with God. Please check it out athttp://www.savedforsomething.com & like my FB page at http://www.facebook.com/savedforsomething. I would appreciate you sharing it with any friends who you think would enjoy it! My husband & I travel the country for a living, and I’m a foodie, so my posts are always diverse & never boring! Thanks so much for your support! <3 xoxo, Ashley

  5. Tiari says:

    Getting it right always starts with God!! That popped in my head as I was meditating this morning.. Hope it answers someone’s prayer today!

  6. Nastaran says:

    A powerful message , I really liked this but I wish there was more explanation for the last verse (Colossians 19-20).

    1. Rochelle says:

      The Message version of the Bible translates it this way, and it makes a lot of sense: ‘We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

      18-20 He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.’

      1. Michelle says:

        Mmm. The Message version is doin’ it for me this morning. (Thumbs-up emoji)

      2. Nastaran says:

        Thanks Rachelle, I like it but still I don’t get how his death and blood did all this. Why should God torture and kill himself? How does it help the world?

        1. Lizzieb85 says:

          “Why should God torture & kill Himself? How does this help the world?”
          God is perfect & Holy. We are not, we are sinful. “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. We fall short of His perfectness. He WANTS to have a relationship, but our sin is SO disgusting to Him, becuase He is perfect, that we cannot have a relationship with Him. Our sin deserves punishment (“For the wages/payment of sin is death”) this means permanent separation from God (hell). He does not want this. So, that is where Jesus comes in. Jesus came to earth as a man, but fully God, to be the perfect substitute for us. He was tortured & killed as punishment IN OUR PLACE to reconcile us to Him. So that we may have a relationship with Him & be with Him forever. Those who believe Jesus is God and died as punishment in their place, are reconciled to God. We are able to have a pure relationship with Him & live with Him forever. Colosians 1:21-23 talk a little about this too.

          I mentioned in my other comment that Jesus’ death on the cross reconciled the whole earth & heavens because in Revelation it talks about how His second coming will usher in a whole new heaven & earth. EVERYTHING that was created in Him & for Him benefits from His death & resurrection.

    2. LizzieB85 says:

      These verses pretty much sum up the Gospel. Jesus is God’s chosen plan to reconcile fallen/sinful man back to Himself. Jesus IS God. He came to earth as a man, but filled of the fullness of God (because He is God). This pleases God because it fulfills His plan for reconciliation. Jesus’ death (shed blood) on the cross is punishment on Him, but for us. If we believe He did this for us, it reconciles us to God. ALL things are reconciled to God through this as well. The Revelation passage talks about how, at His second coming, ALL things will be made new- new heaven & new earth. Even new bodies for those who believe in His death & resurrection, who are reconciled to Him.

      1. Nastaran says:

        So, Jesus was punished for my sins and now I’m not responsible for any bad I do??

        1. Emma says:

          Hi Nastaran, these are tough questions for sure. I have a feeling that SRT will touch on these questions as we get closer to Jesus’s death and study what happens afterwards.

          To give you a small answer to a really big question, because of Jesus’s death and God’s grace (his love and mercy we don’t deserve), God sees us as pure (Colossians 1:22) and invites us to live as his child (Galatians 4:7)

          Jesus took our sins on him and received the punishment we deserve, so now we can live as children of God full of his light (Ephesians 5:8-10)

          Because we still live in this world, darkness will tempt us to do bad things, and God our father will be disciplining us to turn to righteousness again and again (Romans 12:1-13)

          We are still responsible for the wrong we do and are called to live a holy life. But because Jesus has received our punishment, as long as we beleive, Gods grace will always be with us (1 John 4:13-16).

          So the answer is yes and no. You get to choose if you’ll do good things or bad things and are responsible for that choice, but if you turn to God, you’ll receive his grace and not have to pay the ultimate price (romans 6:23)

  7. Erin says:

    I think the most satisfying, peace-giving thing about all of this is simply that ALL things are reconciled to him. All things. My brokeness, lost people in my life, the darn presidental race, the future of the world, and the future of my life. ALL things are recconciled to him.

    Oh, let me live like that is so! Something I’ll be thinking about today. :)

  8. Grace says:

    Girls, can you please pray for my friend? He has never had a personal relationship with Christ but is starting to look into his faith again. He needs the Lord in his life so badly and I want nothing more than for him to know how much he is loved by God.

    1. churchmouse says:

      Yes, praying for your friend right now. So touched too by your heartfelt plea on his behalf. Trust that God is pursuing him. It is not His desire that any one should perish.

    2. Joanna says:

      Grace, what a beautiful name! I am praying right now.

      1. Grace says:

        Thank you both so much it means a lot

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