"so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him"
Has anyone ever asked you who Jesus is to you? To the world? Have they said, "Define Christ?" When these questions pop up, they are in unexpected moments from people we know or barely know. Usually we are not prepared to answer the question; we so want to get it right and to use the right words. So we fumble a bit, but if we are on our toes, we do not try to define who Jesus Christ is according to orthodox church theology. I would be surprised if many people would choose words like eschatology, parousia, justification, or glorification to talk to a friend about Jesus.
We speak from our hearts. What does knowing Jesus, affirming Christ as savior, mean to us on an every day basis? We speak about the rock beneath our feet in hard times - we might even relate a specific event. We speak about the tender care that is wrapped around us when we are uncertain. We speak about unspeakable joy when we have been touched by the Spirit and for one moment feel all is right with the world. We share a bit of scripture that has meant something to us.
In this scripture, Paul is addressing a church that has been stirring their beliefs about Jesus with a variety of philosophies. This stew is not tasty. In fact, it totally misses the point. They have Jesus confused with all sorts of other stuff. They need to know who Jesus really is, so in verses 15-20 Paul defines who Jesus is for them in order that that their faith may be strengthened - The Christ Hymn. This hymn may not speak to us in the same way that it did for the Colossians almost 2,000 years ago. But it was right for them. Paul doesn't stop with this hymn, though. He also gives them the "why" of Jesus. "so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him."
Jesus said what he said and did what he did at the cross and at the tomb for one reason: to help us be right with God. Helping us to bridge our sinful lives over to reach God/Jesus/Spirit who makes us holy. Takes away our sins. Gives us a clean slate. We just have to keep the hope of the gospel.
Redeemer, you know how messy our lives are. You know where we get it and where we don't. We know that through you, we are forgiven and made right with God. Help us to find the words, the stories of our lives, that can help us answer "Who is Jesus to you?" We don't have to have fancy words, just words that are felt and understood. Help us to create our own Christ Hymns to share. Amen
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