This is the first of two messages around the theme of Advent, the Lord Jesus! We’ve based both messages around the old hymn, “Fairest Lord Jesus” for a reason: People seem to lose sight of the One who is most beautiful, in a season where there are many distractions! We’ll examine some clear verses of Scripture from Colossians 1.12-20 and find that Jesus is most beautiful!
This two part message finds it’s inspiration in a hymn, an old one from maybe the 1600’s. Pastor Mark will give you more of the history around the hymn itself but its message is clear. Of all that we would call beautiful, and the words of the hymn list the beauties of creation, The Lord Jesus is the fairest, most beautiful.
That’s an especially needed message for now. We live in a day and time when the best black Friday deal holds our attention as we shop for Christmas gifts, in a time where everything else – decorations, lights, special foods and you-name-it – is what we go “Ah!” for. We need to actually focus on the fairest, the most beautiful, the Lord Jesus Himself.
“…giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
These verses aren’t the typical Christmas verses are they? We’re not talking about shepherds, mangers, wise men or little drummer boys. As much as His nativity and birth were a marvelous miracle of God’s grace and mercy, He’s not there anymore. He is the Triumphant, Risen King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He is absolutely the fairest, the most beautiful of all beings. This portion of Scripture tells us some reasons why we should feel this way.
But it begs a few questions when you say that He is fairest, most beautiful. For one, “Do we know what real beauty is?”
Beauty isn’t just a feminine quality, like a beautiful woman or beauty products to make women more beautiful. It’s way more than that.
Beauty is hard to define but not hard to feel and be affected by. Beauty is excellence, majesty, awe inspiring, take your breath away, magnetically draw your attention, can’t get my eyes off it, want to examine it to absorb as much as I can. Because beholding true beauty elevates you, inspires you, and changes you.
I’m still inspired by an experience I had this summer. I love getting out on my kayak on some of the local waters. One late summer evening, I launched out into Lake Ontario from Hamlin Beach State Park. That’s awe inspiring anyway, just the size of the lake and the smallness of my craft. As I paddled down the length of the park I realized that if I hung in there long enough, I might have a great view of the sunset. Sure enough the sun got lower and lower in the sky until it hung just above the horizon. There were just enough thin clouds to make for some amazing, indescribable colors and textures. When that sun went down into the distance I was treated to the most remarkable display I’ve ever seen. It affected me deeply. I worshipped the One who made that. When I think back on those minutes, I feel transported to another world. The beauty changed me.
Jesus Christ is the most beautiful of all beings. You say, well, maybe, but I’ve never seen Him. Fair enough but He can be seen in the Scriptures, by the Spirit, clouded by the world and our flesh. When you catch a glimpse of Him, who He is and what His majesty is like, you’ll forever be changed.
Let’s go back to our text.
Vs. 12-13 “…giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”
There are only two kingdoms, places where a system and authorities rule. One is the default kingdom for humans, the kingdom of darkness ruled by the power of darkness. If you’re still in it or remember it, it should make you shudder. But at the Head of the other kingdom is a King. That king and His kingdom were not easy to establish and not easy to get into. But His sacrifice, overcoming of death, taking the keys of death and hell and then ascending to the Throne of Heaven should bring you to awe. There was no other way that His kingdom could have been established. He is the highest royalty, elevated to the highest office, perfectly governing without controversy or challenge. That’s beautiful.
Vs. 14 “…in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
Humans are all kidnapped by our own initiation. We’re caught and don’t have what it takes to be let go, unless the ransom is paid. He paid it with His own blood. Beautiful.
Vs. 15-16 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”
When you see Him, you see God. When you read what Jesus said or did – the miracles, the conversations, the teaching, the statements, the values – you don’t have to ask what God is like. He is the exact image of God. You won’t see that anywhere else. Beautiful.
He created everything. Up or down, seen or unseen, in any and every rank, no matter how they’ve gone. He created all. He existed before all Creation, because you have to be there in order to make it. This makes Him the “firstborn”.
In Biblical culture and in many world cultures, the firstborn son is the prince of the household. No matter how many other children come along, he is always first. Jesus is the firstborn of all creation. That’s why the wind and waves obeyed Him. That’s why when He said “Lazarus, come forth!” Lazarus came forth. He is the firstborn.
Vs. 17 “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist”. He is still firstborn in creation, the old world. Not to misunderstand His current role in all that you know, He holds everything together. All things consist in Him. You would dissolve in a moment if He didn’t choose to keep you together. Awesome, beautiful.
And then His place in the new creation…
Vs. 18 “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence.”
He is the Creator and Initiator of the new creation, the Church. He is the beginning of it, and the “firstborn” of it, the firstborn of the dead. Now wait a minute. Weren’t there other people who came back from the dead? That widow’s son in Nain came back, Lazarus came back. That’s not the same. What happened to them after they came back? They eventually died! Jesus is the firstborn from the dead, as He actually raised Himself from the dead and will never die again but live in a transformed, heavenly body. First place in the old creation and first place in the new, that’s called “Pre-eminence”. Beautiful.
Vs. 19-20 “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus. And everything that will be reconciled, new creation believers, the physical old creation, all of heaven’s inhabitants, He reconciles the breach and brings all together in peace.
Is there anyone like Him? Is there any other that is more beautiful than He is?
Here’s what you should do in light of this: