Tuesday, January 12, 2010

COLOSSiANS 1.13-20

Paul's hymn about Jesus in Col 1.15-20 is filled with ideas and thoughts that are almost too wonderful to comprehend. For example,
He is before all things and in him all things hold together.
How does that work? How do all things, living or non-living, have their ongoing sustenance in/by Jesus? Or here's another one,
All things have been created through him and for him.
So, Paul, you're saying that not only did this Jesus cause all that is to come into existence, whether the seemingly infinite galaxies or the subatomic particles, but all things are somehow for Him? Hmmm. Wow.

While the majority of this passage is masterful and elegant in content,
style, structure, etc, Paul ends in 1.20 on a minor chord. He says that Jesus
Made peace through the blood of His cross.
Now if you're living in the Roman Empire in the first century, the cross is not cute or even religious. The cross was for guilty criminals whose heinous deeds were known to all. Crucifixions were done publicly so as to shame the guilty. People were more than welcome to mock those being crucified to make themselves feel better.

If one was to think of the cross in light of the Roman Empire, they would think of it as the dark, dirty underbelly of justice. Those people were getting what was coming to them. The cross was a symbol of retribution. No one would ever dare think something as dumb or demented as peace being made through the cross. However, this was precisely the case.

This cross is saying something about the depth of the stain of sin [1.14, 21-22]. This cross is saying something about the greatness of the love of the Father [1.12-13]. There is something so radical and counter-cultural about the cross of Jesus that it changed Paul's thinking to its very core. It must effect the same in us.

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