This sermon is part of the sermon series "Jesus Is Lord". See series.
Have you ever told a joke that someone didn't get or think was funny? And then you tried to explain it and it was even less funny? Jokes are like poems: if you try to analyze them too much, they lose some of their value. Even when a poem is dense with metaphor and symbolism, and thus difficult to understand, the poem itself always trumps the explanation. In the same way, the original joke is always better than the joke's analysis.
This passage in Colossians isn't a joke; it's a poem. And although I earn part of my living by examining biblical texts, and then explaining them to other people, this passage poses a definite challenge—largely because I know that no matter what I say won't be as good as the poem itself. That's why I encourage you to take this passage home with you. Ponder it. Memorize it. Pray it. Go for a walk with it. Think about it all week long. This is one of the most beautiful portions of the entire New Testament.
In this passage the apostle Paul was writing to a church in Colossae, trying to tell them in poetry—or perhaps an ancient Christian hymn—about the identity and mission of Jesus Christ. Read and pray this passage with all your heart because every word is pregnant with meaning, ready to give birth in our lives.
We can summarize the whole poem in three words: Jesus is Lord. The first part of the poem could be summed up with this phrase: Jesus is Lord of creation. That's our focus for this morning. Jesus made everything; he's holding it all together; he's present in the midst of creation. But we all know that there's also trouble in Jesus' good creation. People and animals die. There is a long list of bad things that we don't like to talk about: car accidents, horrible microbes, diseases, ...
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Matt Woodley serves as the Editor for PreachingToday.com and the Pastor of Compassion Ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. He is also the author of God With Us: The Gospel of Matthew (IVP).