The True Peacemaker

David Landegent

READ : 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 . . . and through him to reconcile to himself all things . . . making peace by the blood of his cross. (Col. 1:20) Nearly everyone likes peace—and politicians know it. Even the most violent leaders want their people to believe that they are fighting for peace. It's a message we like to hear. In Paul's day, many were so thankful for Roman rule that they worshiped the emperor by giving him the official …

Filled to Be Emptied

David Landegent

READ : Philippians 2:5-11 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. (Col. 1:19) People often talk about whether a glass is half-full or half-empty. Optimists think it's half-full, while pessimists think otherwise. (But I've always wondered why an optimist couldn't say, “Hey, this glass is only half-empty! I've still got lots left!”) Paul, however, doesn't think about half-full or half-empty with regard to Jesus. Jesus is both empty and full. In Philippians 2:7, Paul praises …

Jesus Is #1

David Landegent

READ : Matthew 20:20-28 That in everything he might be preeminent. (Col. 1:18) Jesus is #1. Our English translation uses the adjective preeminent to say this, but the Greek language uses a verb here that we don't have in English. Literally, Paul says that Jesus is “firsting forth.” Unlike a has-been athlete who used to be at the top of his game, Jesus continues to be firsting forth eternally. Jesus does not first forth so that he can be king …

The Firstborn Dies . . . and Is Raised

David Landegent

READ : 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 He is . . . the firstborn from the dead. (Col. 1:18) Twice in this hymn Paul calls Jesus the firstborn, a status that normally brought prestige and privileges. Yet the ways of God are not the ways of humanity. Nearly every firstborn son in the Old Testament did not receive prestige or privilege. Adam's firstborn son Cain was cursed for killing Abel. Abraham's firstborn Ishmael was bypassed for Isaac. Isaac's firstborn Esau sold his …

Beginning a Good Work

David Landegent

READ : Philippians 1:3-6 He is the beginning. (Col. 1:18) It's fascinating to watch a line of dominoes placed in such a way that when the first one falls, all the rest of them quickly tumble down as well. Jesus is like that first domino but with a miraculous difference. He is not the beginning of everything falling down but the beginning of everything rising up. Jesus is not just a beginning point which then gets left behind, like the …

The Headless Church

David Landegent

READ : Ephesians 4:11-16 He is the head of the body, the church. (Col. 1:18) There's something about a headless body that gives us the creeps. That's why the headless horseman is so scary in Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Even more horrifying, however, is a headless church. This happens whenever a church operates without a living connection to Jesus, the only King and Head of the church. Such a body might think about the Head, believeLead your …