If you missed the introductory posts to this series you can catch-up here.
I remember the driver my wife and I had on a bus tour of the island of Oahu on our honeymoon. He drove us around the island, teaching us some history while pointing out the various plant life we were passing (we still joke about how he said “hibiscus”). He was a great guide and we enjoyed the ride. I didn’t really know anything about this guy, but he seemed fully qualified to drive us around. He appeared to know what he was doing. Without really thinking about it, I trusted him to drive us safely around the island.
Similarly, in my college years I drove a shuttle van for an airport hotel. Daily I’d pick people up whom I’d never met before and drive them where they needed to go. The van was clearly marked with the name of our hotel, and that was enough. They trusted me to get them where they needed to go.
We’re all headed somewhere in our time on this earth. What’s more, a biblical perspective on life reveals to us that all of life is headed somewhere. History isn’t happenstance. History is closer to a narrated tour than a random set of chance occurrences. Somebody is driving the bus. God is leading. God is guiding human history in a direction and to a destination. And Jesus is playing a hands-on role.
He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Colossians 1:15 ESV
Last time we looked at the first part of this sentence. Today I want to highlight the profound meaning in the second half. What does it mean that Jesus is the “firstborn of all creation?” This idea of “firstborn” intends for us to think of authority. Like the firstborn son who is placed in authority over a family, Jesus is placed in charge of all creation. The context of this whole passage highlighting the supremacy of Jesus is that he is King. In verse 13 we were told that God “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son”. Where is this kingdom? And what kind of king is Jesus?
Well, the kingdom of Jesus is expansive. You’re probably in it right now. Really. You may not think that’s the case, but could it be the case? This is part of the good news or “gospel” that Jesus’ followers preached to the Roman world and that Paul is preaching in this letter to the Colossians. Jesus is King. And he is king of all creation.
In an anxious situation in life, have you ever encouraged someone by saying, “don’t worry, it’ll all work out in the end”? Think about that for a moment. “It will” all work out? Why? Is “It” going to make work things out? The good news about Jesus includes the truth that God is working things out. And he is doing that through Jesus. History is purposeful because God is personally involved.
Reflecting on this truth has encouraged me in the midst of uncertain times:
- Because Jesus is leading, history will reach it’s intended goal. Jesus is like a captain on a ship guiding it to it’s destination. You may make a lot of choices for how you spend your time on the ship, but you aren’t driving it and you don’t have to worry about it taking you to the wrong destination.
- Because Jesus is leading, I have confidence to lead. When I know what Jesus has told me to do, I have confidence to invite others along. As a pastor, I’m not asking people to follow me into some life I have made up. I’m asking them to follow me in following Jesus.
- Because Jesus is first, I don’t have to be. Jesus is the “firstborn.” He’s our preeminent leader. He’s first! I don’t have to find my identity in winning or being first. I can celebrate that he is. I find satisfaction just being included with him.
- Because Jesus is leading, I don’t have to be lost. There’s this bumper sticker I used to see that read “Jesus is my co-pilot”. I thought that was stupid. How’s that good news? That Jesus is there to back me up if I need to take a break? Or that he’s ready to help me fly where I lead? No, Jesus is the pilot. I’m just happy to be on his plane!
The more I get to know Jesus, the more found I feel and the less lost I feel no matter my circumstances. The more I know him the more I trust his leadership. The more I trust him the more confident I am in the future. The more I know him the more clear what I am supposed to do in life becomes. I am so happy that Jesus is leading! And increasingly I am learning to enjoy the ride.