“Here am I, the servant of the Lord;
let it be with me according to your word.”
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.
“So what?” Those are two words a mentor advised that I write at the bottom of every sermon and lesson. After all the exposition, theologizing, story telling, and points hammered home, “So what?” What does it all add up to? Practically speaking, what does it all mean for people? What does it say to people getting up in the morning, trying to make a living, loving, learning, worshipping and seeking meaning?
“So what?” springs to my mind as we come to the end of this Advent devotional! After days of reading, pondering, and praying through one of the grandest portions of scripture, what will it all mean for us in practice? Granted, these are exciting lines to learn and consider, but what do they mean in the rough and tumble of life? What are the implications of Jesus of Nazareth being the expression of the invisible God, the Sovereign through whom all things are created, held together, and find purpose? What will it mean for us in 2020 that one day all the broken pieces of our world will be brought into unimaginable harmony through Christ’s offering Himself on the cross?
The “So what?” of the Colossians Christ Hymn is clearly spelled out in the purpose clause of today’s scripture: “so that he [Christ] might come to have first place in everything.” That’s it! That says it! What the King of Glory is by right, we are to make Him in our lives: first and foremost!
The “So what?” means that it is not enough for us to make Jesus the Reason for the Season, or take a few weeks to observe His birthday. It is not enough for the world to admire Him or love Him – Jesus is to be first in everything! Everything!
As the source, the glue, and goal of all things, Jesus rightly deserves to be put first. First in New Year’s resolutions, devotion, agenda, relationships, and resources. Because all things on earth and in heaven will ultimately be brought together in Jesus’ person, so life here comes together in Him. Paul later reminds the Colossian believers about Jesus: “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him” (Colossians 2:9). Making Jesus first in everything will look different for each of us. But we can look to and rely on the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us into this radical Jesus life. It is God’s purpose and pleasure to fill us, and the whole cosmos, with the glory and beauty of His Son!
Next week we will begin to get used to writing 2020 as the current year. In the days of the Colossian Christians and the Caesars they counted the year, Ab urbe condita, or AUC (from the foundation of the city), or the founding of Rome. But no more! That was then, this is now! The good news of Jesus, and what He accomplished, so powerfully changed the world that people felt compelled to begin to count time, B. C. (before Christ), and A. D. (anno Domini, the birth year of the Lord).
That is what happens when we give Jesus His rightful first place in our lives! All of life is new and the world is new! This is the “So what?” written all over the Colossians Christ Hymn!
- What is one thing you could do in 2020 that would help make Jesus first in your life?
- What is one thing you could stop doing in 2020 that would help make Jesus first in your life?