Reflections on "Jesus Manifesto," pt. 2

Chapter 1: The Occupation of All Things


Read over this passage slowly.

15 He is the image of the invisible God,

    the firstborn over ALL creation;
    16 because by Him EVERYTHING was created,
    in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible,
    whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—
    ALL THINGS have been created through Him and for Him.
    17 He is before ALL THINGS, and by Him ALL THINGS hold together.
    18 He is also 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.
    19 For God was pleased [to have] ALL His fullness dwell in Him,
    20 and through Him to reconcile EVERYTHING to Himself
    by making peace through the blood of His cross —
    whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Colossians 1:15-20, HCSB (emphasis added)

Notice a theme? These are some BOLD claims Paul is making. Everything we see, taste, touch, hear, and smell, AND everything we can’t see, taste, touch, hear, and smell has been created BY Jesus, THROUGH Jesus, and FOR Jesus. Not only that, all that stuff is held together by him! You may think that the laws of physics are holding this world, this solar system, this galaxy, and this universe together, but it’s Jesus. You may think that you are responsible for paying the bills, staying healthy, and providing for your family, but it’s Jesus who holds your life together. And you may think that Jesus died just for you and those you love, that human souls are the only part of creation that will enjoy redemption and reconciliation, but through Jesus’ blood, everything is reconciled to him–the whole of creation.

Viola and Sweet explore in this chapter how EVERYTHING is occupied with Jesus the Christ–the heavens, creation, the Old and New Testaments, the writings of Paul, etc. Jesus is given first place, top priority in everything. It all points towards the Christ.

With us, however, there is a different story. The created order extols, reflects, and points to Christ. That’s just the way it is. That is how the non-human creation was created. But we humans have the option to NOT put Christ in first place. We are actually given the ability to deny Christ his rightful place in our lives. Even in the church, ministers, teachers, and pastors continually deny Christ his rightful Lordship over EVERYTHING they do, say, or preach.

Viola and Sweet make this chilling statement:
“The tragedy of our time is that countless preachers, teachers, even healers are giving dozens of sermons, lectures, and messages, relegating Jesus to little more than a footnote or a flourish to some other subject. At best, he gets honorable mention. What is lacking is a groundbreaking revelation of Christ that boggles the mind and enraptures the heart.”

Read the passage from Colossians again. When you sit through Sunday morning services, does Christ take priority over ALL THINGS? Does EVERYTHING the preacher says point back to the awesomeness of Jesus? Are we, as Christ’s body, allowing ourselves to be held together by something other than Christ’s spirit? Are we proclaiming the reconciliation of everyone and everything and the peace that comes through the blood of Christ?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, then something is wrong. If Christ is not head over everything, then something else is–whether it’s evangelism, church growth, theology, doctrine, social action, missions, worship, and the list goes on. What is occupying your time? Is it Jesus, or is it this list of other things?

“To our minds, there is one reason why a Christian would not be absolutely occupied and consumed with Christ. That person’s eyes have not been opened to see His greatness. The sad truth is that the Jesus who is preached so often today is so shallow, so small, and so uncaptivating that countless believers are enthralled with countless other things.”

Read the Colossians passage one more time. Does that Christ seem shallow, small, or uncaptivating? Absolutely not! The exact opposite is true. The Christ we serve is so deep, so big, and so captivating that the world and the cosmos get sucked into Him. Christ is the pre-occupation of all things.

Is He yours?