Studies in the Epistle to the Colossians Part III: Christ Pre-eminent -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 119:473 (Jan 1962)
Article: Studies in the Epistle to the Colossians Part III: Christ Pre-eminent
Author: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Studies in the Epistle to the Colossians
Part III:
Christ Pre-eminent

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

One evening near the Sea of Galilee Jesus spoke to His disciples after a busy day of ministry and said, “Let us cross over to the other side.” When the multitude of people was dismissed, the disciples took their weary Leader into a boat and began to make their way across the lake. But there arose a lashing storm which churned the little sea into wet fury, and soon the boat and its occupants were in danger of being swamped. Anxiously and somewhat peevishly they turned to their sleeping Companion and brusquely aroused Him with, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” being quite unaware of the fact that there is no sinking with the Savior aboard. Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush! Be still!” The wind died, and a dead calm ensued. After He had rebuked them for their fear and faithlessness, they, awestruck, murmured to one another, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (cf. Mark 4:35–41).

If the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews had been present, knowing what he knew when he wrote his letter, he would have replied confidently, “Why, He is the effulgence of God’s glory and the stamp of God’s very being, and sustains the universe by His word of power” (cf. Heb 1:3). Paul the Apostle might have replied, “He is the image of the invisible God; He has primacy over all created things” (Col 1:15).

This line from Paul introduces the section of Colossians which has often been called, “The Great Christology.” We owe the section to the heresy of Gnostic Judaism, which was

on the verge of infecting the little church in Colosse. Thus, in one respect at least we may be thankful for heresy, because the church of Jesus Christ would be impoverished substantially if it did not possess this significant testimony to the pre-eminence of its Redeeemer.

We turn now to “the Great Christology” and Paul’s defense of the Lordship of Christ over the physical creation; and the spiritual creation, the church. We are thankful, too, that Paul was not composing a Ph.D. thesis and being “awfully scientific” about it. He was sharing with his readers a deep spiritual experience, and he wished for his readers the same experience.

B. The Person of Christ (1:15–18 ).

1. In relation to the Father (1:15 ).

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