Published on January 6th, 2011 | by Dustin Schledewitz
Here is Your King: A Meditation and Bible Study
The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup this past year. After seeing the huge celebration that occurred a couple of blocks from our apartment, it’s hard to imagine a larger, grander ceremony. The players were put in places of honor as they floated down Michigan Avenue on the tops of buses, and people clamored just to get into a position to see them. “Here are your champions!” was the announcement shouted above the crowd. It was truly amazing, but it causes me to wonder what Christ’s victory parade will look like. The world has not seen a ceremony of pomp and circumstance fit for our King. However, He will return, and when He does, I would want Paul to be the one who announces Christ our King over the crowd. Why? As I read through Colossians 1:15-23, I couldn’t help but feel Paul’s passion and emotion as he wrote about the identity and work of Christ.
In sermon preparation, one of my main goals is to find the Big Idea of the text. In this one, it is easy – Christ is supreme in all things. There is enough theological truth in this passage to take up thousands of pages of books…and it has. The truths that we can glean from this text are very important, and the Ryrie Study Notes help one to understand these deep truths a little better.
Paul points out that Christ is:
- the image of God (15a),
- the firstborn over all creation (15b and see Note on 15 for a good explanation)
- creator of all (16)
- eternal (17a and see Note on 17)
- the sustainer of all (17b)
- the head of the church (18a)
- the firstborn from the dead (18b and see Note on 18)
- the fullness of God (19 and see Note on 19)
- the one through whom reconciliation has been made available (20-23)
That is the truth from this passage in an emotionless list. These truths are revolutionary and foundational to our faith. But as I think about Paul’s audience, I realize that they were a church – they were Christians. They most likely knew all (or at least a majority) of what Paul is writing, especially when the presence and work of the faithful Epaphras is considered (vs. 7). It is also probably true that a majority of people in church today could demonstrate a knowledge of a majority of these truths, but the question must be asked whether He is truly and clearly supreme in our hearts and churches. Sometimes these truths seem to be kept at a safe distance…a distance that won’t shake us to our core. I hate it when I read this passage and walk away without having my pride shaken and my mind consumed with our King.
An Encounter with the King
One of my favorite books that I have read while in seminary has been Conformed to His Image by Boa. In this book, Boa makes the statement that “when evangelicals study Scripture, they typically look more for precepts and principles than for an encounter with God in the depths of their being” (175). The list, the principles that are above, are important and deep. But a mental list guarantees nothing, which is probably one reason that Paul communicates it in such an emotional way. It has shaken him to the core and he wants it to shake the church as Colossae as well. This list of truths should bring us to encounter Him, to be shaken by His character…and to worship Him. His power, His position, His Deity, and His work of reconciliation combine to form arrows of truth that can penetrate our souls if allowed. Meditation is a way to bring these arrows close and allow them to penetrate our armor. Our Bible study should include meditation…a step out of the busyness and distraction to set our mind and hearts on Him and His truth. It is utterly baffling to consider that a humble entrance into the world and Jerusalem for such a great King opened the way for rebellious hearts to be reconciled to such a great God.
My prayer is that we don’t lose sight of the greatness of our King in the midst of hurried Bible study. My prayer is that Paul’s announcement of our King and His victory in this passage results in a parade of honor and adoration in our hearts that puts the Chicago Blackhawks parade to shame…because one day we will be at His parade.
I’m going to meditate on this a while…