Word for Today Archive


Pastoral Commentary for Colossians 1
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

Unnecessary but Nice

Yesterday I took my grandson Elijah (age six) out for a ride on his trailer bike. The front end of his monocycle attaches to the seat post of my bike and we ride together. We went 15 miles and tackled some pretty significant hills. The biggest one was about eight tenths of a mile long and rose about 170 feet. That makes it a four percent grade, not much in a car but pretty significant when you're pedaling up it with a 75 pound load on the back of your bike. The profile of the hill from my GPS makes it look even more difficult.

Elijah's trailer bike does have pedals, but most of the time he gets pretty lazy back there, content to freewheel and let Papa do all the work. When he does pedal along, if we're on a flat stretch of road it's almost impossible to detect any difference in the level of effort required on my part. But yesterday was different. Yesterday Elijah was very enthusiastic about going for a ride. And when it came to the hills Elijah was eager to help out. In fact, on a couple of occasions he was pedaling so hard that I'm convinced I could have stopped pedaling momentarily and he would have kept us going uphill for some distance.

I know that I would have made it up every hill in our ride without Elijah's help. His efforts were not required to successfully climb the 9 or 10 hills on our 15 mile ride. But when I was going uphill and could feel his little legs adding power and speed to our climb it felt good. It made my heart smile to know that he was giving it his all and doing everything he could to make our ride a success.

As I read Colossians today, I was struck by the greatness of Christ. Paul's words drove home the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord of all! He created all things and rules over everything with all the rights of a firstborn Son. He existed before anything, and everything that exists is held together by Him. Yet, He chose to give us a role in carrying on His ministry after He ascended into heaven following His glorious resurrection victory.

I realized that Paul's words in Colossians 1 make it clear that Jesus doesn't need us to get His work done. He can accomplish His will by His own divine power without any of us lifting a finger to help. But He has honored us by allowing us to participate in His work here on earth for the salvation of mankind. It made me think about yesterday's bike ride. I would have gotten up those hills without Elijah's help, but it was good to feel his efforts on the back of the bike. It made my heart happy to know that we were in it together, part of a combined effort. I'm sure it makes Jesus happy when He sees our efforts to serve Him. He is not dependent on our contribution, but the joy of sharing His ministry with us is a blessing to Him, just as it is a blessing to us.


Pastoral Commentary for Colossians 1
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

Yesterday I took my grandson Elijah (age six) out for a ride on his trailer bike. The front end of his monocycle attaches to the seat post of my bike and we ride together. We went 15 miles and tackled some pretty significant hills. The biggest one was about eight tenths of a mile long and rose about 170 feet. That makes it a four percent grade, not much in a car but pretty significant when you're pedaling up it with a 75 pound load on the back of your bike. The profile of the hill from my GPS makes it look even more difficult.

Elijah's trailer bike does have pedals, but most of the time he gets pretty lazy back there, content to freewheel and let Papa do all the work. When he does pedal along, if we're on a flat stretch of road it's almost impossible to detect any difference in the level of effort required on my part. But yesterday was different. Yesterday Elijah was very enthusiastic about going for a ride. And when it came to the hills Elijah was eager to help out. In fact, on a couple of occasions he was pedaling so hard that I'm convinced I could have stopped pedaling momentarily and he would have kept us going uphill for some distance.

I know that I would have made it up every hill in our ride without Elijah's help. His efforts were not required to successfully climb the 9 or 10 hills on our 15 mile ride. But when I was going uphill and could feel his little legs adding power and speed to our climb it felt good. It made my heart smile to know that he was giving it his all and doing everything he could to make our ride a success.

As I read Colossians today, I was struck by the greatness of Christ. Paul's words drove home the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord of all! He created all things and rules over everything with all the rights of a firstborn Son. He existed before anything, and everything that exists is held together by Him. Yet, He chose to give us a role in carrying on His ministry after He ascended into heaven following His glorious resurrection victory.

I realized that Paul's words in Colossians 1 make it clear that Jesus doesn't need us to get His work done. He can accomplish His will by His own divine power without any of us lifting a finger to help. But He has honored us by allowing us to participate in His work here on earth for the salvation of mankind. It made me think about yesterday's bike ride. I would have gotten up those hills without Elijah's help, but it was good to feel his efforts on the back of the bike. It made my heart happy to know that we were in it together, part of a combined effort. I'm sure it makes Jesus happy when He sees our efforts to serve Him. He is not dependent on our contribution, but the joy of sharing His ministry with us is a blessing to Him, just as it is a blessing to us.


Pastoral Commentary for Colossians 1
Author: Pastor Zach

I've heard the adage, "Now you see it, now you don't," but I never knew it worked the other way around. Usually, this saw is quoted by magicians who are using some sleight of hand, making some relatively insignificant object "disappear." But while these illusionists are making things disappear, our text for today from Colossians 1 is all about something that has appeared. It is a case of, "Now you don't see it, now you do!" And the thing that has appeared is not insignificant. No, it is infinitely valuable.

"Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation" (verse 15). Many biblical scholars believe that these words constitute an ancient Christian hymn, here quoted by Paul, written to confute a proto-Gnostic heresy which claimed that the spiritual and invisible was inherently good while the material and visible was inherently evil. To such a claim, this hymn declares that the God of the universe, though once spiritual and invisible, became visible and physical in Christ. And the visible Christ is certainly not evil. He is perfect! "Now you don't see it, now you do!"

The Greek word for "image" in verse 15 is eikon, from which we get our English word "icon." Christ makes the God "no one has ever seen" (John 1:18), visible, corporal, and knowable. Indeed, this is precisely what we celebrate this time of year: That the invisible God became visible as a baby in a manger on his way to being a Savior on a cross, as Paul later says, "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation" (verses 21-22). Notice that Christ's seeable, knowable, physical body is that which saves us. What we once did not see, we now see.

People all too often make a sharp distinction between their normal lives and their spiritual lives. Your normal life is what you do Monday through Saturday, at work and at home, with family and friends. Consequently, your spiritual life gets relegated to an hour on Sunday, when you worship an invisible Deity who remains relatively detached and aloof from your everyday life. But this was never God's intention. God never meant for us to have a "normal life" and a "spiritual life." Instead, God, who is spiritual, descended into our normal, physical lives in Christ so that everything we do in our normal, physical lives could be done with God. In other words, everything we do is spiritual!

Today, as you go about your "normal" business, do you do so with an awareness that everything you do is done in God's presence? Do you do so with an awareness that everything you do has profound spiritual significance? Everything you do - from the way you love your spouse to the way you raise your children to the integrity that you maintain at work - is spiritual. Your "spiritual life" is not just found in Bible readings, prayers, and worship services, it is found in everything. Your spiritual life is your normal, everyday life, for God is in your normal, everyday life. God is not invisible anymore. He has come in Jesus.



Read Today's Scripture and Commentary on the Concordia website.



2019-12-12 21:40:08