“Good News For All The People”—Daily Reflections for Advent 2016
THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT, December 11th
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers — all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
Let’s go wide-angle lens for a moment. Let’s look at the bigger picture. For a long time I thought God’s good news was about me, about how the Son of God came to save me. And you too. That’s mighty good news, but there’s a lot more to it! As we look into Scripture we can begin to see the bigger picture of what God has done and is doing in Christ Jesus! I agree with N. T. Wright: “The good news is bigger, better, fuller than you ever imagine.” (Simply Good News)
Today’s Scripture is one of the Bible’s most profound and powerful pronouncements of the good news of Jesus Christ. In trying to take in this text “we reach the limits of our intellectual capacity. Because he is God of very God, Christ’s power and control extend to the edges of the universe and beyond.” (Larry Helyer, “Proclaiming Christ as Lord: Colossians 1:15-20”, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology)
These marvelous verses display the supremacy of Christ at every turn. We see that all of creation, visible and invisible, comes about in Christ and is dependent on Him. Even the cosmic powers and dominions were created through Christ and exist for Him. Everything in earth and heaven is subject to Christ and “in him all things hold together.” Jesus is the glue holding together all of creation. If but for a moment Jesus “let go”, all of creation would come apart!
In these few verses the word “all” appears seven times, emphasizing that “all things” are under the supremacy of Christ and exist for Him. These verses provide a big-picture look at God’s good news, revealing that through Christ “God was pleased to reconcile all things, whether on earth or in heaven.” The “all things” God reconciles through Christ is neuter in the Greek text, indicating that God reconciles to Himself not only people, but all created “things”, inanimate and animate. Robert Wall, in his commentary on Colossians, explains Christ’s reconciling mission like this: “I am led to understand God’s reconciliation of all things as encompassing the nonhuman and inanimate worlds, so that ‘even the stones will cry out’ in praise of God (Luke 19:40; see also Revelation 21:19-21).” (Colossians & Philemon)
The reconciliation of all things through Christ means that all of God’s created order shattered by sin (Romans 8:19-22) will be put right by Christ. It will be just as the prophet Isaiah rhapsodized: “The wolf shall lie down with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together” (Isaiah 11:6). In the joyous words of the angel choir, this is “good news” of “peace on earth, good will toward all.”
Pastor Tim Keller writes of God’s “making peace through the blood of Christ”:
The whole world will be healed as it is drawn into the fullness of God’s glory. Evil will be destroyed and all the potentialities of creation, latent until that moment, will explode with fullness and beauty. Compared to what we will be then, we are mere vegetables. Even the trees will sing and make music before the face of the returning King, who, by his presence always turns mourning into dancing. (The Reason for God)
Step back for a moment and ponder this wide-angle view of God’s good news! Let yourself be in awe and amazement of the God who makes all things right in Christ Jesus! It will be just as fourteenth century English mystic Julian of Norwich saw it would be: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
- In what ways do you see God’s good news as being bigger and more wonderful than you might have thought?
- How do you imagine God’s future reconciliation of all things “inanimate and animate”?