- Curt Leonard
On Sunday we started to look at the book of Colossians. We said that part of the big theme was Christ is supreme. It means that Christ is preeminent and stands higher and greater than anyone or anything else. In fact, Colossians 1:18 captures this very well when it says, “in everything he might be preeminent.”
Read Colossians 1:13-22 and in your own words write down in what areas Christ is supreme.
The reason that God wants us to see the supremacy of Christ is to help combat against the tendency to start looking to other things for our maturity and completeness as Christians. This is the very tendency we see in the church at Colossae. According to 2:3-4 and 8 the teaching was trying to “delude” them with plausible arguments and take them “captive” to the teaching. That teaching was leading them away from focusing on Christ.
What was that teaching? A look at 2:16-23 gives us the answer. The false teaching taught that believers needed to do certain things such as venerate angels, treat their bodies harshly and restrict certain things, in order to be holy and draw close to God. This “self-made religion” did not help them grow mature and holy at all (2:23). It was “human tradition” (2:8) and “human precepts and teachings” (2:22) but it had “the appearance of wisdom” (2:23).
What are some of the reasons Christians can be tempted to look to other things for growth and maturity rather than Christ?
The teaching seems tempting because it promises so much that we long for… closeness to God, completeness or fullness of godliness in a tangible, convenient, programmed way.
Paul rightly saw that in order to battle the false teaching that says we need something more than Jesus to become complete, he must make sure that we see the greatness of Jesus. Paul saw that only when we understand how supreme Jesus is, will we stop looking away from Him and start focusing upon Him for our maturity. This really completes the main theme of the book which is this: Because Jesus is supreme then we find all that we need for maturity in Him!
See how Paul connects these dots for them in the letter. Because Jesus has all wisdom and knowledge, then we do not have to look to other teachings for answers (2:3-4). Because Christ has destroyed the legal demands against us (2:14) then we do not need to give in to more legal demands (2:16 notice the “therefore” that connects 2:14-15 with 2:16). There are many more, but you get the idea. When we see Christ as supreme, we do not need to be held captive to other authorities, teachings and human rules.
Are there areas in your life where you have been listening to other authorities rather than Christ? Are there people or things that you have been relying upon for growth and maturity rather than Christ?
God wants you to connect the dots between Jesus’ supremacy and your life. Look back at the list you made earlier regarding the supremacy of Christ (1:13-22). Now meditate and pray about how His greatness in those ways supplies help for what you are facing in your daily life.
In Jesus, by the work of Jesus, and through Jesus we find all that we need for a complete and godly life. He is supreme and because of that we find maturity in Him (2:19). If you want to grow, don’t move beyond Jesus, move closer to Jesus. All you ever need is in your supreme Savior.