Today, on the Last Sunday of the Church Year, we take our Epistle from Colossians 1:13–20. Our devotional reading comes from The Mighty & The Mysterious by Heidi Goehmann.
Psalm 46; antiphon: v. 7
Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.
Today the Book of Colossians teaches us the value of wonder as well as careful, thoughtful investigation. Each has a different purpose, but both impact our relationship with God—Father, Son, and Spirit—the mighty and the mysterious Creator of all.
When we lose wonder or we forget to slow down enough to wonder, we can also easily forget about God as Creator, an important part of God’s identity. So for today’s lesson, I want this to be our refrain: God is Creator as much as He is Savior, Redeemer, and Restorer.
Did you know that Colossians is about creation? I certainly didn’t. Actually, full disclosure here: I set out to write a Bible study on Genesis 1 and 2, but as I tried to understand God’s creation, I came across the short Letter to the Colossians. Eventually this letter took over and became the topic of the Bible study! Sometimes God turns us to the obvious. Other times, He turns us to a fuller picture than what we realized was there.
Can you see Colossians pointing us back to Genesis, and Genesis pointing us forward to Colossians? God’s Word is connected in ways we can spend a lifetime discovering. God intends for us to read His Word as a collection of separate writings, but also as a unified whole. When we don’t understand something in one passage, He gives us the gift of being able to read other passages in His Word that address related topics in order to help us understand.
In Genesis, we find God creating. In Colossians, we learn that our Savior, Jesus, participated in that creating. Colossians enables us to see God’s act of creating in a clearer light.
Colossians has a lot to say, and a lot we will tackle together. But we will see that the foundation of Colossians is this: Jesus is all. From creation to new creation, He is all. God is Creator as much as He is Savior, Redeemer, and Restorer.
Colossians 1:15–19 is full of complex statements. But these verses actually give us a framework for our whole study: jump into the mysterious, while also being surrounded by the comfort and clarity of Jesus as all.
Every single thing on this planet, every single thing in the heavens above, every single thing invisible or visible was created by Jesus and created for Jesus. Created by Him and created for Him are such important ideas, so let’s look at them individually as we reflect on creation.
We believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—three persons, one God. “Three in one” means each person of the Godhead was there before the beginning, is there now transcending the world we see, and will be there throughout eternity. All things were created through God the Son, Jesus. And then He also became part of His creation by becoming man. He carried out God’s plan of salvation in creation: He died a true, human death on a cross made from trees and rose again to new life after being placed in a rock-cut tomb.
Jesus’ relationship with creation as both God and man is a mystery we cannot fully understand. There is a tension that exists: Jesus is fully man, but He is also fully God—uncreated and eternally existing. Colossians 1:15–17 affirms both, without explaining how they can both be true:
- Jesus is “before all things” (1:17)—He is not created; He existed eternally, before creation.
- And yet Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation” (1:15)—He became man to be our Savior.
We see this mystery reflected in the way Jesus interacted with His creation during His time on earth.
But creation is not made by Jesus. It is also made for Jesus.
Small words can easily be missed. Colossians 1:16 makes a big use of small words—specifically, the little words all and for.
All things were created for Jesus. Every little thing. Every big thing. Every supernova, every beating heart, every dolphin song, every playful penguin, every breath …
We can walk around pretending it’s all for us. We can walk around pretending it all exists to serve the good of humankind. But Colossians 1:16 makes plain the truth of who all this is for.
All that exists is for Jesus.
Everything my eyes behold has been made to bring Him glory. He is the one who fills my lungs with every breath I take.
But then, just when I think I’m starting to get the hang of what it means for all things to be created for Him, it gets harder and more complicated. When the earth quakes, does that bring Him glory? When winds roar, how is that for Jesus? These are questions we won’t have complete answers to until He comes back again. While the idea of God’s creation involving loss and aggression is difficult and beyond what I can understand, I’d rather stand in the truth that all things are for Him than be left to endure this shaking world unaware and wondering literally who in the world is in charge. Because it’s all for Him, I can rest in Him, run to Him, cling to Him, and find hope in Him—even in the middle of the challenges and the things that come into my life and don’t seem good to me at first glance … or at any glance.
All things created by and for Jesus means our mighty and mysterious Savior is also our mighty and mysterious Creator: God is Creator as much as He is Savior, Redeemer, and Restorer. Jesus is all. From creation to new creation, He is all.
Devotional reading adapted from The Mighty & The Mysterious, copyright © 2019 Heidi Goehmann, published by Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Hymn of the Day
Hymn of the day from This Is the Day Which the Lord Has Made by Carl F. Schalk, copyright © 2018 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.