In this post we discuss the significance of the New Testament, specifically Paul’s epistle to the Colossian church. Like a bottle washed up on the beach, or contact from another planet, it has a reality-altering message.
About this series
For more about why this series was written, please see the first post.
Chapter Two: A Bottle In the Ocean
Stop. Imagine for a moment Paul the Apostle. He was once Saul, and what made him Saul is that he was raised a Jew, succeeded in all his studies to become the best of the best, literate in all the Hebrew Scriptures, and firm believer and strong enforcer of Mosaic Law – the core essence of what it meant to be a Jew among the rest of the nations of the earth; God’s chosen people. Now, understand the gravity of Paul’s words in Colossians as described by the authors of Jesus Manifesto:
In a [modern] church that is filled with leader-oholics, justice-oholics, commandment-oholics, and doctrine-oholics, it is essential that we comprehend how Paul (the go-to guy for all matters “doctrinal”) understood his calling as an apostle. For Paul, his apostolate was not to advance a defining array of doctrines or a checklist of propositions. As far as he was concerned, our faith is not even a relationship with a set of doctrines or commandments. [page 39]
Did you catch that? A Jew, once so devote that he hunted and killed Jesus’ disciples for their “heresy,” preached and wrote in the New Testament that there is no more relationship with a legal code of commandments. That’s deep!
Throughout Paul’s letters and the entirety of the the New Testament we have a picture, a revelation, of Christ. The New Testament is not a set of doctrines to be followed, but an attempt to explain what exactly Jesus’ arrival on our planet meant to the human race. It changed everything.
You know those movies that portray alien life forms visiting or communicating with earth? My favorite is Contact (1997). In every one of those movies, whether the aliens are hostile or friendly the effect upon the human race is the same. Reality suddenly changes. Not only does the old way of doing things no longer apply, but it has become completely and utterly irrelevant. The human species unites as one in a shared reality that changes life for every person on the planet.
The simple fact that Jesus exists at all has life-altering implications for everyone. Life-altering. Everyone.
Never forget: There is much more in Christ than we have ever imagined. And there is infinitely more to Him than we have yet to know or touch. We can never exhaust Him. Christ is so large that no search party in the universe can explore an iota of His infinite depths. What is more, He will never grow old or stale. Jesus Christ is the only thing in God’s universe that doesn’t wear thin.
Yet so many Christians are blissfully unaware of His vastness. They have settled for so much less and have known Him so little.
But mark this down: When the people of God get a sighting of their incomparable Lord–and when the world encounters His unfathomable love, irresistible beauty, and overwhelming glory–every idol will be forced to the ground. The clouds of doubt will part from our eyes, and Jesus Christ will displace everything. But first, the church and the world must see Christ. [page 40-41]
My prayer is that you communicate an image of Christ so large to the people around you that His power and glory will be the revival and life giving power that this world so desperately needs.