Who is Jesus?

What if a total stranger were to approach you and ask, “What do you think about Jesus?”

For a moment seriously consider this possibility. What would you say if someone unexpectedly approached you on the street and asked you, “What do you think of Jesus?” I am sure that you would be surprised, but would you be ready with a good answer? I am confident that if the apostle Paul were asked such a question, he would not only have been ready, but it would have been hard to get him to stop talking. There are so many things that we might answer with that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, our Lord and Savior.

Let us think for a moment about the first of these claims, that is, that Jesus is fully God. Obviously, for that to be true, the Bible would have to apply qualities or attributes to Jesus which can only apply to God. In other words, if Jesus is fully God, He will display the characteristics of God.

Is that actually the case, though? We can find an answer to that question in the words of Paul. He says of Jesus in

Colossians 1:15-20

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was so pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.”

Paul would seem to say, “THERE ARE NO WORDS TOO GOOD TO DESCRIBE JESUS!” He makes many claims about who Jesus is in the above passage and most of them strongly imply or state that Jesus is fully God. Let us take a closer look at these claims.

  1. Colossians 1:15 says HE IS THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD. When God chose to reveal Himself to us, He did so in the person of Jesus. No wonder, then, that Jesus could say to Philip in John 14:9, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Paul is obviously saying that Jesus is fully God!
  2. Colossians 1:15 says HE IS THE FIRSTBORN OVER ALL CREATION. The word “firstborn” implies “priority in time.” Before the creation ever came into being, Jesus already existed. This is simply one way of saying that Jesus is eternal. If Jesus is eternal, then He is certainly fully God.
  3. Colossians 1:16 says HE IS THE CREATOR OF EVERYTHING. The Bible begins in Genesis 1:1 by saying that “God created the heavens and the earth.” Paul says that all things were created by Jesus! Paul is emphatically declaring that Jesus is fully God.
  4. Colossians 1:17 says that HE HOLDS EVERYTHING TOGETHER. We often think of God as both Creator and Sustainer of His universe. What we often think of God, Paul says about Jesus. Because He holds everything together in our universe, He is obviously is fully god.
  5. Colossians 1:18 says HE IS THE HEAD OF THE BODY, THE CHURCH. As the divine head of the church, Christ gives life and direction to His people. The church can be called the church of God according to 1 Corinthians 1:2 or it can be called the church of Christ according to Romans 16:16. This is simply another way of saying that Jesus is fully God.
  6. Colossians 1:18 says HE IS THE BEGINNING, THE FIRSTBORN FROM THE DEAD. This means that Jesus was the first person to ever be raised from the dead by His own power. Jesus said that He had authority to lay His life down and to take it up again in John 10:17,18. Only someone who was fully God could do that!
  7. Colossians 1:19 says HE IS THE DWELLING PLACE FOR THE FULLNESS OF GOD. When the Old Testament spoke of God being present in all of His fullness, it spoke of the “shekinah”, or the special presence of God. When the New Testament speaks of the fullness of God, it speaks of Jesus!
  8. Colossians 1:20 says HE IS THE RECONCILER OF ALL THINGS. Paul declares that Christ brings peace, initially now and in its fullness when He comes again, to the entire universe! That would be impossible unless He were fully God.

There should be no doubts in our minds by now! Jesus IS fully God! And, the great thing about Jesus is that as magnificent as He is, He loved us enough to die on the cross and reconcile us to God as we read in Colossians 1:21-23!!

After reading this passage and this letter that you will never be short on words if someone asks you what you think of Jesus. It is full of solid ways to initiate the conversation about who Jesus is and who we are called to be.

QUESTIONS FOR REVIEW AND STUDY

  1. After reading this letter, put in your own words what you would say if someone asked you, “What do you think about Jesus?”
  2. If you can locate another version of the New Testament (other than NIV), write out Colossians 1:15-20.
  3. After reading Colossians 1:21-23, write out what Christ has done for you and what it means to you.
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