I could name a plethora of reasons, or incentives, to follow Jesus Christ and to give Him priority. As I teach from the Scriptures Sunday by Sunday, part of what I am trying to do is to bring these incentives to bear upon the lives of those who have placed their faith in Christ. So much is gained when we gain Christ. The apostle Paul explains to the Christians in Ephesus that they have been blessed with “every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Throughout the New Testament these benefits are named for us—we gain forgiveness, we gain righteousness, we gain power to serve, power to resist temptation, and power to pray.
At the outset of his letter to the Colossians, Paul provides the people of Colossae with an expectation that their faithfulness will be accompanied by some practical blessings from God—they will receive from God strength, endurance, patience, and joyful gratitude (Colossians 1:11, 12; see also my earlier post on this). For some, this provides adequate motivation to make Christ and His priorities our main pursuit. But, I love the transition Paul makes—as if to further elevate our incentive to follow Christ. Paul transitions away from a list of benefits derived from following Jesus and begins to focus on the nature and work of Jesus.
I hear Paul answering the question, “Who is Jesus?”, by saying that Jesus is supreme (Colossians 1:18).
…for by Him all things were created: in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is 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 supremacy (Colossians 1:16-18).
We make a mistake if we simply think of Jesus as Redeemer. He is Creator—all things owe their origin to Him. He is Sustainer—all things “hold together” in Him. And Christ is the end for which everything in the Universe was made—not only was everything made by Him, but everything was also made for Him.
The New Testament is unequivocal on this point: Christ is The Supreme One. And while the benefits promised to me if I follow Christ are compelling, I regard Christ Himself to be the most compelling reason for me to follow Him. In other words, if Jesus Christ is supreme (in an objective sense), He ought to be supreme to me. Any benefits that may happen to accompany my following Jesus are, as they say, “gravy”.
I don’t want to pretend that I am an expert in treating Jesus as supreme in every aspect of my life—I’m not. But I will say this: I intend to spend the rest of my days attempting to appropriately respond to His supremacy.
If this is something that interests you, may I encourage you to listen to the message below, entitled, “The Supreme One”.