The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through 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 the supremacy.
I am a worship leader. No, I don’t play guitar and lead songs, but I am a worship leader. You are too. It’s our highest calling and one that will never end. Our lives will be defined by our worship, and our worship will, for better or worse, lead the worship of others.
Some of you don’t know that I work for a seminary. Seedbed is a mission of Asbury Theological Seminary. Before I got involved with Seedbed, I served eleven years as the dean of the chapel on our Kentucky campus, which means I served as a pastor to hundreds of men and women preparing to serve the church.
A major part of the job involved designing and leading corporate worship for three different gatherings throughout the week—coming to about a thousand gatherings before we were done. Our main objective was to lift up as beautiful and big and bold a vision of Jesus as possible every single time. The inside joke was we approached Jesus in worship like we approached voting in Arkansas in the old days—early and often. How soon could we begin talking about Jesus? How quickly we say his name? What stories could we tell about him? Every time he gets lifted up, he draws people to himself.
Here we are, only fifteen verses in, and Paul is casting an utterly stratospheric vision of the Son of God. He does this in all his letters: Jesus early and Jesus often. Check out the first few lines of it again:
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
We must see Jesus. We were made to behold him. His life, not in general but in a thousand specific ways, must become our vision. His preexistence, preeminence, conception, birth, life, words, deeds, miracles, relationships, signs, sermons, parables, prayers, suffering, passion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, return, and eternal reign must become our holy obsession. This is the message Paul offers the Colossians and the Columbians, the Americans and the Africans, and everyone else. We must see Jesus. We must fix our gaze upon him.
Why is this so important? Because we become like what or whom we behold. We will behold someone or something. That we will worship is a given. Whom or what we will worship is up for grabs. Because we are made in the image of God, and because Jesus is the image of God, and because we will not find our true selves until we find ourselves in him, we must see Jesus. As his life becomes the source and substance of our lives, we become the people God imagined when he first imagined us. As we become those particular people, our lives (and, particularly our relationships) lead his worship and others see the vision. Like it or not, we are worship leaders, you and me. Where are we leading them? You are getting the hang of this.
So, what will you call Domino #1/15?
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who leads us all in triumphal procession. He is the image of the invisible God; the firstborn over all creation; the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world; the Alpha and Omega; the one who holds all things together, in whom we live and move and have our being. Open the eyes of our hearts to see him in all his lowliness and in all his exaltedness. We must see Jesus. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
- How does today’s daily text both challenge and encourage you?
- How will you “turn your eyes upon Jesus,” as the 1920s hymn encourages us to do? How will Jesus more and more become your vision?
- What does a daily habit and practice of beholding Jesus look like for you? How can that grow? You will only grow as this grows.
For the Awakening,