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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, May 9, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Colossians 1:15–23

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.

And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel. (NRSV)

About halfway through the Gospels, Jesus poses an important question to the disciples: “Who do you say I am?” You can almost hear their wheels turning on how exactly to respond—until we hear Peter’s bold proclamation: “You are the Messiah.” There is relief as Jesus acknowledges his response, but we soon learn he is only half-right. Jesus is the Messiah, but he has been sent to suffer, die, and be raised again after three days. Peter argues surely Jesus must be mistaken; he can scarcely comprehend what Jesus is telling him.

Decades later, the author of Colossians (whether Paul or a follower) again returns to this question of Jesus’ identity—albeit with richer understanding. Whether this text is an early hymn, confession, or a statement of belief, we have moved far beyond Peter’s simple proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah. The description of all things being created in and through Jesus is reminiscent to the prologue of John’s Gospel, and the text echoes others throughout the New Testament in naming Jesus as reconciling our relationship with God.

Although it may seem like a simple question, our answer to who Jesus is has a profound impact on our faith and lives. Do we understand Jesus primarily as a teacher? The Messiah? The very image of the invisible God; the one in whom all things were created? Colossians goes on to emphasize we are a new creation in Christ, called to live lives “clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience”—all rooted in this understanding of Jesus’ identity.

Almighty God, in Christ you have shown me the height and breadth and depth of your love for me. Help me to live my life proclaiming that love in all I do. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Associate Pastor for Children and Family Ministry

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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