Today we frequently hear phrases like "all roads lead to God: it’s not a matter of the destination but the journey that is important; everyone is trying to get to the same place; that belief is fine for you, but I don't (or I can't) accept it."
We are also told that truth is only relative to the hearer and that only religious bigots or fanatics claim that faith can be understood as true or false. This is not a new problem: it seems that the Colossians had heard about Jesus and worshipped him, It was not, though, an exclusive relationship for them as they saw Jesus as one spirit or guide amongst many.
Today’s readings consider Jesus’ role in the creation of the world as well as considering His contribution to redeeming humanity, thus reconciling us to God. It is a clear statement of Christ’s supremacy that gives us great confidence in our task of making Jesus known.
To think about
- How can we build bridges to enable us to share our faith more effectively?
- What kinds of problems might we encounter in sharing the gospel when we refer to Jesus as being the only way to God?
The way of Jesus cannot be imposed or mapped. It requires an active participation in following Jesus as he leads us through sometimes strange and unfamiliar territory, in circumstances that become clear only in the hesitations and questionings, in the pauses and reflections where we engage in prayerful conversation with one another and with him. (Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way)
Who is Jesus?
- Please read Colossians 1: 15 - 18 and Acts 4:12. What do these verses tell us about who Jesus is and what He has done?
- In an age where we learn by what we see and can touch, how can we present Christ to a needy world, when he is described as the "image of the invisible God"?
- What does it mean that Christ is the "head of the body, the church" (verse 18)?
- In what practical ways is/should Christ's headship (be) evident in GHBC?
- Think back to a time when you had to make a difficult decision. What does the decision you made say about the supremacy of Jesus in your life? How might you have done things differently?
Verse 18 reminds us that Christ is not just supreme in parts of creation but in everything. This has a significant impact on the way that we should view not just the world and its contents, but one another, and of course, Christ himself. Don't forget, too, that the church is the representative (the "body") of Jesus Christ on the earth, reflecting his Spirit and controlled by his will.
How does Jesus affect the lives of believers? (verses 19 - 23)?
- Please read verses 19 - 23. What did Jesus do? What impact has this had on us? How does this relate to the fullness of God described in verse 19?
- Describe "reconciliation" in your own words. How would you use this idea in any presentation of the gospel you might make to someone else?
- What changes an alien and/or an enemy to someone who is accepted & holy? How might you use this fact and this process to understand and to explain the uniqueness of Jesus?
- The words “holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (verses 22 to 23) speak of the unique status of a Christian. In what ways might knowing this encourage you to keep on believing and living for Christ?
- In what ways might we present/preach/proclaim the true and unique Jesus to a world that so desperately needs to hear about him? How might the way we "do church" help/hinder this and what might we need to review or change?
To think about
In an age of so called religious pluralism, this passage has reminded us of the unique claims of Christ: the reality of there being only one route to salvation and Jesus' authority over all things whether spiritual or physical (v.16). The challenge to us is not just to recognise this supremacy but to experience it and affirm it in our own lives and our own ministry for God.
Please pray …
- … for all who live, work and spend their leisure time in Gorse Hill that we may find good opportunities to enable them to meet Jesus here
- … that we will always recognise the supremacy of Christ in the life of the church as well as in our own lives