I can’t believe that!

Recently members of the family have had to ...

Jon Reeves | 19:32, 07 Jun 2020

[This content was first shared on 12th May as one of the 10:30am Daily Devotionals]

Alice in WonderlandRecently a member of my family had to plan an online RE lesson explaining the Trinity to children; I had to speak on the human and divine natures of Jesus in the context of ministry training; and a couple of days ago we heard Dave preach on the amazing passage in Colossians, chapter 1 on the eternal significance and supremacy of Jesus both in the context of creation and as head of the church.

These three subjects are extraordinarily complex. They're hard to get our heads around at times and although some people just shrug their shoulders at them and wonder why Christians believe such things. In a way it’s a bit like Alice’s conversation with the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. It goes this way:

‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.

‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” 

Many people dismiss doctrine like the Trinity and the two natures of Jesus Christ as bad celestial mathematics. It’s just impossible to believe in concepts like three-in-one or two-in-one. Which raises the question: why don't Christians just abandon this clumsy and complicated way of talking and focus on things that are more important and easier to understand?

there's so much more to God and Jesus than might appear on the surface

The simple answer is that there's so much more to God and Jesus than might appear on the surface. [The Bible seeks to present to finite humanity the infinite and all-powerful God in terms that we can understand]. Colossians 1:15-20 concentrates on the significance of who Jesus is, and his eternal relevance for struggling humanity. These verses tell us what makes Jesus different to all other religious leaders in the world. Jesus is presented as nothing less than the image of the invisible God – the exact and perfect representation of the God of the universe.

The eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life emphasise the love that he had all people, including the poor, the outcast, the sick and the vulnerable. This reaches its climax with Jesus on the cross, giving up his life as he takes the punishment for human sin. I guess that most people in our society and still believe in God, or at least in something that’s bigger than themselves, but he is invisible and people can’t understand what God is like. But Jesus Christ makes the invisible God visible and relatable (v.15). Then Jesus is described as the firstborn over all creation, meaning that he is to be understood as the most exalted of all kings and rulers this world has ever known (Psalm 89: 27) In other words, Jesus is superior to all other rulers.

Jesus is the creator, the sustainer, the goal of everything there is

Three reasons are given to justify this statement. First, Jesus is the creator of everything in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities (v.16). Second, Jesus is the goal of creation because all things have been created for him. It is in Jesus that everything in the universe finds its meaning and significance. Third, Jesus is the most important person in the universe because he sustains everything; he is before all things and in him all things hold together (v.17). That means that Jesus is the reason why you and I can take our next breath.

Of course, science can explain how all these things work, but Jesus Christ explains the ‘Why’. [We might prefer a different sort of Jesus, a Jesus who conforms to a pattern we can understand and control, and who does not disturb or challenge our comfortable existence.] But that option is not available. The truth is that Jesus is the creator, the sustainer, the goal of everything there is. No other person in history or in any other religion comes even close to Jesus Christ.

Yet there is more. Jesus is also the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead so that in everything he might have the supremacy (v.18). There’s that word ‘firstborn’ again. Jesus is not just the most important person in this life, but also the most important person in the next life. Why? Because only he has experienced death, gone through it and come out the other side. The implications of that are world-shattering, especially in the midst of a pandemic when hundreds of deaths are being recorded daily. We all know that one day we will pass away and that all we hold dear in this life will be gone.

If we trust in him, he will carry us through death and out the other side

But because he is the firstborn among the dead, Jesus can make all the difference. It means that death is not the end. If we trust in him, he will carry us through death and out the other side. Through his death, Jesus has taken all the penalty and punishment for sin that was rightfully ours so that we can be reconciled to God, and be able to enjoy life in all its glory for all eternity. If you are a Christian, it is time to meditate on that mid-blowing reality and think about your response.

If you are not a Christian, please don't think we're like the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland who can believe six impossible things before breakfast. Although our God is complex beyond the limits of human understanding, he has revealed through Jesus Christ the extent of his love for humanity and his desire to for a relationship with his created beings. I hope you will consider further this description of who Jesus really is, and come to understand that nobody in the world or throughout history compares to him. I hope you will understand the significance of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and come to know him yourself.

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Daily Devotional - 12th May

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